By Albert Lambert

These are certainly challenging times. Covid-19 has touched everyone’s lives in one way or another. Some have become ill and recovered, others haven’t been so lucky. At the very least, the pandemic has interrupted life. Celebrations of all kinds have been cancelled. Education has shifted to the world wide web. Board rooms and offices have moved to kitchen tables.

But as we’ve seen throughout history, time and again, the human spirit will prevail. We will rise as a community and come through this even stronger. But until we can safely gather to celebrate, learn, work and play, we can still be united in remembering and honoring our fallen heroes.

Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day, a time to remember, honor and mourn all military personnel who have died while serving our country. From World War I  to Afghanistan, nearly three million Americans, including 80 Gilroyans, have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom, liberty and way of life.

In remembering the fallen, we must also honor their loved ones: spouses, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, friends. There really aren’t proper words, but we must live in gratitude each and every day for the precious gift that they have given all of us.

In previous years, on Memorial Day the Gilroy community has shown its appreciation for these heroes with a Remembrance Ceremony at the cemetery, followed by a parade and sometimes finishing with a family gathering at Christmas Hill Park. But this year we can’t gather to remember the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes. Instead, we must demonstrate our gratitude individually. 

During the entire month of May, fly an American flag at your home and/or place of business. Visit the grave site of a veteran family member and leave a small American flag. Check in on a veteran neighbor and see how they’re doing. Paint patriotic rocks and place them around town. Check out the Gilroy Rocks Facebook page if you’re not familiar with this cultural phenomenon.  

Turn one light green—on your porch, in your home, or at your office. The national movement, Greenlight a Vet, is a simple action to establish visible national support for our veterans. Then, share your support by taking a picture of your green light and posting it using the hashtag #greenlightavet.

Then on Memorial Day at precisely at 3pm, visit the Gilroy Veterans Hall Facebook page, as well as the Gilroy Memorial Day Parade Facebook page, as Gilroyans Tom Brozene and son, Jimmy Brozene, play Taps as part of the annual National Moment of Remembrance.

While we may not be able to gather and properly honor our fallen heroes this Memorial Day, we can show that these heroes are not forgotten. If we all do a little something to honor Gilroy’s fallen heroes, we will be united and together again.

Albert Lambert is the chairman of the Gilroy Memorial Day Committee.

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