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Young people, take time to reflect on sacrifices

I feel like I’m often the youngest person in attendance at many events I go to, for work or otherwise. This doesn’t really bother me because I’ve long since gotten used to it. In fact, I sometimes find it easier to talk to people with decades more experience than people my own age.

But as I attend Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day events each year for work, I can’t help but notice people my age or younger are in the minority of the gathered crowd. Or rather, it’s usually only me representing the 20-something year old demographic.

Where are all the young people?

To be completely honest, however, before this job, I admit I wouldn’t have attended any of the local ceremonies held to honor our military members. I probably wouldn’t even have known about them either, because I really don’t get out of the house enough. So I’m not exactly surprised about the lack of younger people at these sorts of things. Life is a whirlwind sometimes, and things get overlooked. It can be easy to forget to take a moment to pause and reflect too.

But I still think it’s kind of disappointing that so many people are missing out. Especially on Memorial Day, which is about remembering those who’ve died in service to our country. Even if we haven’t personally lost a loved one or know someone who has, we can still mourn for those who lost their lives and pay our respects for their service.

It’s a solemn occasion and sometimes uncomfortable to deal with all the emotions it comes with, but it’s important to step in someone else’s shoes for a moment and share in the grief. I hope I never have to experience that kind of trauma myself, but I can take a moment to empathize with those who do. It helps me better understand what they’re going through.

I’m glad I now have the opportunity to attend these events.

Those people we remember on Memorial Day died while doing their jobs to keep us safe. And we also remember veterans who have already passed on even if they didn’t die in the line of duty.

Many servicemen and women sacrifice time, effort, and unfortunately, even their lives. We can sacrifice a little bit of time two days a year to honor those people. Both days are considered holidays after all, so most of us have the day off anyway. It’s the least we can do.

In the future, it would be nice to see more younger people at Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day events. Maybe we can learn more about what life is like for people who serve in the military. Maybe we can teach each other about the cost of hard work and what servicemen and women have to sacrifice to keep us safe.

I hope to see more of my peers out there next time.

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at holly.taylor@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7206.