DEAR ABBY: We, the people, bury our heroes with the promise to remember. The Congress of the United States has created the National Moment of Remembrance to reach Americans with one simple message: Don't forget the true meaning of Memorial Day to honor our fallen. No other holidays would be possible without the sacrifices of those brave men and women who have died for freedom since the founding of our nation. Today let us all unite in remembrance to honor those who have ensured that freedom rings in the home of the brave.
Americans are asked to pause, wherever you are, at 3 p.m. (local time).
Participation may be informal. It can be as simple as ringing a bell to mark the moment. Bells carry significant symbolism -– from "proclaiming liberty throughout the land" to the marking of the passing of a soul. The Moment of Remembrance is a time to remember our fallen and to make a commitment to give something back to our country in their memory. -- CARMELLA LASPADA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE COMMISSION ON REMEMBRANCE
DEAR CARMELLA: I'm pleased to share your message with my readers, some of whom may not be aware of what the true meaning of this holiday is about. Readers, although most of you will be devoting today to your personal pursuits, Memorial Day really isn't about us. It's for all those families whose loved ones aren't here to enjoy the freedoms they secured for us. At 3 p.m., let's stand as one, and show them the respect they deserve.
And while I'm on the subject of respect, there is now another way of honoring those heroes who are still serving our country. Visit OperationDearAbby.net and show our troops stationed worldwide how much their efforts are appreciated by sending them a message of support. Bless you, one and all!
Here's a reminiscence from a veteran of World War II:
DEAR ABBY: I'd like to bring to light the unheralded act of some residents of the Czech city of Plzen. On May 7, 1945, the day World War II was declared over, we of the 23rd Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron (Mechanized) arrived in Plzen. A 20-mile buffer zone was established between us and the advancing Russian forces then in Slovakia. After a day of joyous celebration, an envoy was established to meet with the Russian military.
While the envoy was gone, those of us left behind in Plzen got acquainted with the Czech people. Some of them learned that none of us had had showers during the prior 40 days, and we had just completed 14 continuous days and nights of reconnaissance throughout southeast Germany. As a result, we could not risk a timeout for hygiene.
A group of citizens set up a program to open their bathrooms to soldiers on an assembly line rotation. When my turn came at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I was ushered into a residence to an immaculate bathroom with a spotlessly clean tub filled with 8 inches of warm water. I was not rushed but carefully timed, so they could prepare the tub for the next soldier.
Abby, the only expression I could offer them for their kindness was an unwrapped bar of Palmolive soap. -- DALE C. BISHOFF, U.S. ARMY (Ret.)
DEAR DALE: Thank you for the timely reminder that the things we take for granted can become great luxuries in times of need.