This Memorial Day: A Time to Reflect, Grieve, Thank and Honor

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell shares a moment with a veteran during a previous ceremony at the State House. (Courtesy photograph.)

This year, we have a Memorial Day that shall be quite different from all others. It is a time for all of us to draw courage and strength from all those who came before us. It is an opportunity for all of us to support our neighbors and communities in a way that would make those who have died for our Country both grateful and proud.

It shall be a time to reflect that our Nation is still at war, with 50 service members killed-in-action and 330 wounded-in-action in both Iraq and Afghanistan during 2019 and 2020.

It is time to grieve the Veterans we have lost at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes due to COVID-19, and to commit ourselves that no such loss of life from any virus or infection shall ever occur again.

It is time to reflect that about 17 Veterans each day, between 6,000 and 7,000 each year, die by suicide, and to commit ourselves to reducing this number to zero.

It is time to thank Home Base, right here in Charlestown, for the great work they are doing to reduce this suicide rate, treat PTSD, and greatly improve the quality of life for our Veterans and their families.

It is time for us to thank and honor Gold Star Families and to remember the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Airwomen, and Marines that made the ultimate sacrifice or have passed away after having done their duty for their Country, their fellow Americans, and future generations.

It is time to reflect upon the fact that our Sailors and Marines are serving on ships and subs, incubators for COVID-19, often for very extended periods of time.

Finally, it is a timely opportunity to offer our gratitude to all members of our Armed Forces, including our own Massachusetts National Guard, for their dedication to duty and service to all of us in this present time of national and state emergency.

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell represents the cities of Methuen and Haverhill in the state legislature and serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. She can be reached at [email protected] or (617) 722-2380.

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