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The unofficial start for summer falls on May 25 in a year that is unlike any other. The significance of the timeless tradition of Memorial Day should not be lost, even if public ceremonies are canceled. High Plains farmers and ranchers, of course, know that while Memorial Day is another day in a busy stretch of planting spring crops and tending to livestock and preparing for wheat harvest, it also represents a spirit of tradition, recognition and respect.

Memorial Day honors the men and women who died while serving in the United States military, according to the website history.com. Originally termed Decoration Day, the day is set aside to honor the memories of those who paid the price to ensure that we can enjoy many freedoms today. Regardless of the war, the duty in answering a call to service is still revered on the High Plains.

What made those men and women the quiet warriors personifies the spirit of rural America. Anyone who glorifies war is someone who never understood its consequences. The necessity for young men and women to enter the military has many roots in the agrarian society. Pursuing the American dream was what led farmers in the 18th century to put their lives on the line to win the Revolutionary War. The Boston Tea Party and phrases such as “no taxation without representation” remain seared in our memory as a fundamental right to draw a line when we believe government oversteps it bounds.

Nearly 245 years later young men and women continue to serve with distinction. Equally impressive is the family support they received. 

Even as technology made the weapons more sophisticated the capability to treat seriously injured men and women also became much improved and those techniques and are now familiar in rehabilitation programs in hospitals and centers throughout the High Plains.

Memorial Day often includes trips to lake, mall or theaters and with all that has gone since March as the COVID-19 pandemic has curbed many activities. It should not diminish our fondness for those who served and take an opportunity to thank those who continue to the commitment.

Upcoming HPJ events

Several HPJ events of interest to producers are continuing as scheduled for this summer. They include Cattle U and Trade Show on July 29 to 30, at the United Wireless Arena in Dodge City, Kansas, and Sorghum U/Wheat U on Aug. 11, at the Kansas Star Event Center in Mulvane, Kansas. Early bird registration rate of $85 for Cattle U is available through June 1. Registration information is available at cattleu.net.

Find more information about Sorghum U/Wheat U at www.hpj.com/suwu. Registration is free for attendees.

HPJ has compiled outstanding programs for both. The staff is also monitoring how COVID-19 as ensuring attendees, sponsors and event employees feel safe.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or dbergmeier@hpj.com.

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