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Saying ‘thank you’ can go long way

It is an often recited cliché, but one with a powerful meaning that isn’t diminished by repetition or time: Freedom isn’t free.

In fact, it often comes with a very steep price.

Tomorrow — Memorial Day — is the time we set aside as a nation to honor all the men and women who have, through the centuries, paid this price with their selflessness, bravery, courage and sacrifice.

Although it may take weapons to win the fight, ultimately our freedom is won with the hearts and spirit of Americans who say, “Enough. We will stand up for the principles our nation was built on and fight to our last dying breath, not for ourselves but for our children, our grandchildren and their grandchildren.”

Memorial Day and the days leading up to it is a special time in Lawrence County and Ironton. Patriotism and pride swell exponentially and our entire community strengthens its bonds to honor all servicemen and women as best we know how.

Thursday’s Navy Night ceremony always sets the tone for the solemn recognitions to follow. Again this year, it did a great job.

The weekend got off to a bang with a spectacular fireworks display at the Ironton riverfront. The Friends of Ironton and Ironton Eagles deserve lots of praise for their efforts to bring the community together and start a new tradition by bringing fireworks back to the city.

Applause echoed across the riverfront as the lights of the grand finale faded, signaling a job well done.

Today’s ceremony at Woodland Cemetery, Monday’s historic parade in its 145th year and all the other events this weekend are intended to honor our veterans.

Much praise should go to the parade committee and all the other volunteers who make these events so special.

Lawrence County’s sons and daughters have always answered the call in every war our great nation has fought, rising to the challenge to do what is needed.

It is difficult for many of us who didn’t serve in the military to even imagine what our brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and others faced.

From the trenches across European battlefields in World War I to storming the beaches at Normandy in World War II to the sweltering jungles of Vietnam to the sunbaked deserts of Iraq — and all the wars and locations in between where world peace was threatened — America’s soldiers have always gone where they were needed and done what had to be done.

We will never be able to repay these debts, but we can offer the simplest and sincerest of messages: Thank you.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.