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Pause to remember true heroes

More than 150 years ago, our nation was severely divided and the fledgling American experiment was crumbling from within.

Northern and Southern states were divided over the issues of slavery and whether or not the federal government trumped states’ rights.

The American Civil War truly pitted family members against one another and even at the end of the fighting, hostilities lingered for many years.

Out of the war, however, our country ultimately grew stronger, realizing that the union we form is more important than the beliefs or whims of any one member.

During the healing process after the Civil War, Americans began developing strong connections to the Civil War veterans who died in battle. Eventually that admiration and sense of gratitude to the soldiers led to increasingly more formal celebrations that we now know as Memorial Day.

Locally, Memorial Day traditions date back to shortly after the Civil War, with marches traveling across the Mississippi River. That simple process of crossing the river represents how our community comes together for many, many purposes throughout the year.

Memorial Day is about coming together for the sake of remembering and honoring the fallen men and women who died serving our country.

We hope everyone carves out some time this weekend to pause and remember the men and women who died so that Americans of all walks of life can enjoy the freedoms that we hold so dear.