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A time for remembrance, not summer fun

May is a time of memorial remembrances.
In the coming week, many people will be heading out to area cemeteries to remember loved ones who have gone on from this world. Memorial Day will be observed across the region on Monday.
While Memorial Day has turned into the unofficial start of the summer season, it’s important to not forget its real meaning.
It was formerly known as Decoration Day and commemorates all men and women who have died in military service for the United States. Many people visit memorials on Memorial Day as a great way to show their respect.
Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War. Approximately 620,000 soldiers on both sides died during the Civil War. It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead. After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any way or military action.
There are a number of observances across the region on Monday, and I encourage everyone to pay their respects to the fallen by attending a service.
Another special remembrance that takes place in May is National Police Week, which was marked last week. During the special week, it’s important to not forget police officers who have given the ultimate sacrifice in trying to keep their communities safe.
In Steele and Dodge counties, there have been five officers who have died in the line of duty. They include Ole Havey, village marshal with Hayfield on Dec. 30, 1905, Neil R. Johnson, police chief with Blooming Prairie on Dec. 22, 1951, Gregory L. Lange, police chief in Claremont on July 5, 1988, Douglas Eugene Claassen, police chief with Hayfield on March 13, 1999 and Loring Guenther, captain with Dodge County on Sept. 10, 2013.
A statewide memorial service was held on the grounds of the State Capitol last week as well as a memorial service for southeastern Minnesota in Rochester on May 10.
While it’s important to remember the sacrifices of those that have died serving their communities, it’s equally important to remember those officers who are currently serving and face dangerous situations every day.
Peace Officers Memorial Day allows us to pay tribute to the local, state and federal law enforcement officers who serve and protect us with courage and dedication. When we’re fleeing danger, they’re running into it to save us.
I hope you will take a few moments to pause and remember those who have died to maintain our freedom and safety. It’s the least we can do for being able to enjoy the great America we call home.
It’s time to go in hot pursuit of remembering fallen police officers, soldiers and others over the next few days.

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