Written by Charles Lavine Thursday, 23 May 2013 00:00
On May 9, I stood in the pouring rain at Old Bethpage Restoration Village and watched as several World War II armored vehicles rolled down the road and provided the backdrop for public officials who had gathered to announce Nassau County’s new Museum of American Armor.
The scene was striking in its symbolism; an image that reflects what happens in places around the world every day. With the sound of the rain drumming against the iconic Sherman tank, jeeps, weapons carriers, gunners, and other combat vehicles, “soldiers” peered from the tops of tanks offering a too-real image of the daily lives of our military.
Silently the crowd watched as this convoy converged on the rain-soaked lawn, reminding us all of our responsibility to those who are fighting in wars overseas, the sacrifices they are making so we can live freely, and those who lost their lives in the service of our country.
With Federal budget cuts reducing military spending and erasing many of the tributes usually attended on Memorial Day, the Museum of American Armor will ensure the historical significance of WWII is preserved in perpetuity for future generations.
As Memorial Day approaches, it would serve us well to remember that American service men and women have lost their lives in seven wars and conflicts in the 20th century; what has been called the bloodiest century in all of history. Families around the country mourn for their loved ones lost every day; not just on Memorial Day.
It is vitally important that we never forget.
The National Moment of Remembrance, established by Congress in December of 2000 under then-President William Jefferson Clinton, asks Americans to participate in “an act of national unity” for one minute, wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to honor those who died in service to our country.
It is a small gesture, but an important one. Gathering with family and friends to enjoy the start of the summer season is fun but it also provides a teaching opportunity for our young children. Spend the morning attending a parade honoring our service men and women or participate in a ceremony where those who perished in war are paid tribute.
Or, spend one minute at 3 p.m. on Monday, May 27, remembering the lives lost in protecting America and the rights we hold so dear.