Our opinion: A time to say thank you

Anyone who has ever visited the U.S. National Cemetery at Normandy, France, comes away from the experience humbled.

Two weeks from now will represent the 70th anniversary of the need for that hallowed place, when thousands of Americans died on the beaches nearby as they joined with allies to rescue Europe from tyranny and genocidal slaughter.

Yet, it is but one of many U.S. National Cemeteries, with their seemingly endless rows of simple white markers, each inscribed with the name, rank and date of death of an American hero.

There is no National Cemetery in Warren County, but there are veterans sections in our burial grounds, where our own heroes lay at rest.

On Saturday, we published the names of 99 U.S. military veterans who have passed away during the last 12 months, 99 people who are no longer with us to receive our thanks in person.

And, we suspect that some of them never did.

Today, some of us will do the right thing and tell those men and women with our hearts how much we appreciate their sacrifice and commitment.

Of those 99 names, 38 were World War II veterans. Now in their late 80s and 90s, they are leaving us quickly. Over the past two and a half months, we have presented stories of World War II veterans in the hope that their sacrifice and dedication could be known and preserved. No one should ever forget what they did.

Today, when your urge is to concentrate on getting the potato salad just right and checking the gas in your grill, consider for at least a few moments The Greatest Generation and all of those veterans who have put themselves on the line for your freedoms.

And, if you do it while bowing your head, they’ll hear you.