EDITORIAL:Live to make sacrifices worthwhile

May 26, 2007

In the opening and closing scenes of the movie "Saving Private Ryan," Ryan visits the grave of the officer who risked his life to save Ryan from death while fighting the Nazis during World War II.

"I hope that, at least, in your eyes, I've earned what all of you have done for me," he says as he reflects many years earlier.

It's a question that everyone should ask on Monday — Memorial Day.

We may not all agree with this nation's wars.

But the sacrifices service men and women have made, and continue to make on behalf of a nation, must never be forgotten.


Millions have died fighting with the hope that essential values like freedom, democracy, social justice and peace could prevail over tyranny.

It's a sacrifice that gave birth to this country, brought it together in a time of civil war and preserved it throughout the last century and into the new one.

Today, troops are dying in a world filled with fear, hate, ethnic and cultural tensions and revenge.

We, like Private Ryan, should feel a hope that we can live a life that in at least some small way honors that sacrifice.

This day reminds us that the price of war is a priceless currency — one that should be used only in moments of deepest national peril.

Memorial Day should also prompt a pause for the families who have lost loved ones.

They deserve thanks and honor for their own sacrifice and mourning.

It is through the memories of the fallen that we are reminded that even in the midst of war, good exists.

People are willing to give their lives for a nation's values.

Yet, Monday also reminds us that it shouldn't take war for the world to be a better place.

We remember those from Glendale, La Crescenta and Burbank — and everywhere — who made the ultimate sacrifice for the values we cherish.

Monday is a day to renew the struggle for those values, which are just important locally as they are across the nation and the world.

It's not a perfect world, but it can be a better one. Millions have died with that hope.

We, like Private Ryan, should feel a hope that we can live life, in at least some small way, honoring the millions that have died in the name of this nation.

Local memorials on Monday will be just as good a place as Gettysburg was to renew the hope that Abraham Lincoln forged when he said in 1863, "From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

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