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Our View: A day to honor

The uniform does something to the person.

Shoulders squared, eyes straight ahead, the Class A’s sharp and pressed. The men and women who serve in our armed forces deserve our thanks and respect.

Today — recognized as Armed Forces Day — they’re going to get it.

Grass Valley is going all out for its inaugural celebration.

The event is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Grass Valley. All military branches will be represented. The colors will be raised, and military service awards given to seven recipients. The different branches will showcase themselves, and planes will roar overhead.

It’s a show you won’t want to miss.

Memorial Day honors those who died while serving the United States. Veterans Day honors those living and dead who served in the military.

Armed Forces Day is for those who currently serve. From Army Rangers to Navy Seabees to the supra coders of the Space Force, this day is for all of them.

And, in a way, it’s for all of us, too.

We owe the men and woman who serve, and we owe it to ourselves to learn more about them. It’s easy to give lip service to those in uniform. Today gives us the chance to shake their hands, thank them for their service, and wish them the best.

And then go beyond that.

There are lessons here for Americans, about freedom, our system of government and how we protect it. The musical “Hamilton” helped inspire people to learn more about their own history, which is welcome. Now let the descendants of that spirit, standing in front of you today, add to that inspiration.

Right here, in Grass Valley, is the room where it happens.

Parking will be tough, as is always the case in our towns. Expect today to be especially challenging. Instead, use the lot across from Gates 3 and 4 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds on McCourtney Road. It’ll be open from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Nevada Union’s cheerleading team will operate the lot. Cost is $5 to park, and the county will shuttle you back and forth.

Once you’re there, take it all in.

It starts at 11 a.m. with the opening colors, followed shortly afterward by a flyover by Beale Air Force Base.

Then it’s the bands and the showcases, opportunities for lunch, another flyover and a swearing-in ceremony at 2 p.m., followed by the awards presentation.

In a time of intense political divisiveness, it’s essential we nourish and maintain institutions like our armed forces. They’re a powerful symbol for our country. Their presence helps deter enemies and provides for our common defense. But they’re more than that.

The people who serve are not merely starched uniforms at attention. They should not be pawns in some political game, or empty words on our lips when we’re forced to invoke their presence.

They are our sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, cousins, aunts, uncles and everything in between.

In some cases, they’re the person reading these words, right now. Maybe they have their own son or daughter, someone too young to understand the need for a well trained, well equipped armed forces. Maybe too young to get heady concepts like freedom and personal rights.

That’s OK. It’ll come soon enough. In the meantime, there’s plenty of us, right here in Nevada County, to shake that person’s hand and say:

Thank you.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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