There is no shortage of ways to celebrate this holiday weekend. Saturday brings the Rotary Club’s Open Arts and Crafts show. On Sunday it’s the Wilton Education Foundation’s Get Smart for Wilton 5K. Monday, Memorial Day, brings the Kiwanis Club’s pancake breakfast and, of course, the Memorial Day parade.

But Memorial Day is more than a day off from work and school. More than a day to eat pancakes and wave flags. It is a day to remember those who have died protecting the freedoms we enjoy every day. The freedom to speak our minds. The freedom to gather in public and make our beliefs known. The freedom to worship as we please. The freedom to be safe walking down the street or inside our homes. The freedom to pursue the lifestyle of our choosing.

We remember when we see American flags fluttering in our cemeteries, when we leaf through the pages of The Bulletin’s special Memorial Day tribute and see the faces of all who have put on a military uniform to serve our country.

Those who have fallen have left behind mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. We must remember not only those who have died but those they have left behind who grieve their loss.

America has been at war for 16 years. We must remember those who have returned  damaged. As we live our lives comfortably, they have been scarred by events we can barely adequately imagine. We should reflect on the country they come home to. Some have no home. Some have no hope and thus take their own lives. We can never thank them enough for their sacrifice.

On Monday, as the parade makes its way through Wilton Center, marchers will pause at the Veterans Memorial Green to remember Wilton soldiers who died in the name of freedom, from the French and Indian War to Operation Iraqi Freedom. The parade will then make its way to Hillside Cemetery, and this is the heart of the meaning of Memorial Day.

Please join Wilton’s veterans there in remembering their fallen brethren. The names of Wilton veterans who have died within the past year will be read aloud. Let us give thanks for their bravery and selflessness, and those of past centuries, in protecting us and our freedom.