Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday filled with activities, not least of which is the Memorial Day Parade. It’s a day for the Wilton community to come together to run in the Get Smart for Wilton 5K, chow down at the Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast, cheer the competition at the Kick for Nick Nick Madaras Memorial Day Challenge, and wave to young and old as they march in the  parade.

But the parade doesn’t end when it passes by, and that’s the whole point of Memorial Day. The parade ends at Hillside Cemetery where we will take a few moments to remember.

We first and foremost remember those who lost their lives in service to our great country. As we thank their brethren who stood by their side in the hardest, most awful conditions, we acknowledge the absence of so many — too many — who died in combat.

We remember those the fallen have left behind. Mothers and fathers who lost sons and daughters, and sons and daughters who have lost mothers and fathers. Those who have served and died are missed by their families, friends, neighbors, fellow soldiers, their teachers, classmates, and community. We offer up our sincere condolences to those who have had to live with an irreparable loss.

We remember those who returned from war changed, scarred, some stronger for their experience, some wounded by it in ways we can never fathom. We should reflect on the country they have come home to. Those who have no home. Those who have no hope and thus take their own lives. We can never thank them enough for their sacrifices.

We remember on this holiday weekend words like: Freedom. Liberty. Pride. Family. Country. Hope. Courage. We remember these words were more than just words when soldiers gave their lives for them.

We remember, too, that a solemn day does not have to be a sad day. The holiday is cause for celebration. We gather with family and friends, share food and stories, play and sing and enjoy the freedoms our country affords us. We remember that the freedom to enjoy “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is the very foundation of our country which has shaped who we are and what we may be.