To the editor:

On Monday, May 27, Americans across the nation and citizens located across the world will pause throughout the day to observe Memorial Day. Since its official observation on May 5, 1868, when it was called Declaration Day, it has been a day of remembrance for those who sacrificed and died for our nation’s defense. Since last Memorial Day, 7,891 brave Americans have paid the ultimate sacrifice in combat overseas. As we pause during this busy weekend of movies, barbecues and time with family and friends, let us remember those service members who can’t be with us.

Memorial Day brings with it something different for everyone – memories of fallen comrades, friends, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters. It brings with it a solemn state of mind and a burning desire to honor those who so proudly stood behind the ideals upon which this great country was founded and were willing to fight for what is right. For me, it is men like Capts. Chris Petty, George Wood and John Teal, or Sgt. Stephen Smith, all whom I served with overseas and who paid the ultimate price for our freedom on a battlefield far away.

To honor all those who died while serving our nation, I ask you to join us this weekend for a free concert by the National Guard 35th Infantry Division band at 7 p.m. Saturday at Leavenworth High School or come out for the Memorial Day observation at Leavenworth National Cemetery at 9 a.m. Monday.

Editor’s note: William Lallement is the chairman of the Leavenworth Memorial Day committee.