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Opinion | Remember and honor the fallen

We can never repay the debt owed to these courageous, selfless men and women, but we can stand firm in our promise to never forget the fallen.


This weekend, we honor and remember all who fought and fell in defense of our nation. Every day, we enjoy freedoms that are enshrined by the Constitution but paid by the blood and sacrifice of our fallen military heroes. As a tradition that dates back more than 150 years ago following the carnage of the Civil War, Memorial Day offers us a time to collectively mourn those we have died in defense of our nation while meditating on the magnitude of their sacrifice.

In Montgomery, our community is forever tied to military service. From the legendary Red Tails and the 187th Fighter Wing of the Alabama Air National Guard to thousands stationed at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, our service members work, live and contribute daily to our community. In uniform, these warriors stand as guardians and protectors; but in our community, they are neighbors, coaches, friends and family. Each loss affects us deeply.  

Men and women – young and old – have laid down their life in defense of our nation and its people. They died in hopes our communities – their communities – may continue to prosper. Their sacrifice was not made in vain, as leaders across the country are committed to working together in our unyielding quest to form a more perfect union.  

We can never repay the debt owed to these courageous, selfless men and women, but we can stand firm in our promise to never forget the fallen. We can heal the rifts that stand between us and put forth policies to ensure America really is the safest, freest nation on Earth. 

This Memorial Day, we will visit cemeteries, memorials or hallowed ground that stands as a reminder of those we have lost. We will clasp their pictures a little tighter and share stories of our time together. We will lay wreaths, place flowers and steal away to a solemn moment in prayer. 

We will always remember the bravery of our fallen heroes, just we will comfort and help the loved ones they left behind. And yes, we will move our nation forward as a tribute and testament to our unyielding potential to be so much more – to reach the vision of the Beloved Community, a place of peace and purpose referenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Today, and every day, we remember and we honor the fallen.

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Steven Reed is the mayor of the city of Montgomery.

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