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Talking Points -- Don't just remember but really feel Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day weekend, and we have been encouraged on Monday to remember those who served this country.

But just how do we do that? Is thinking about a father, a mother, son or daughter really enough to truly honor them and what they were part of?

At a time when just paying attention for a few minutes constitutes an inconvenience, it's suggested that we try mightily to go above and beyond and honestly evaluate if we care as much about this country as those who served and died for it.

Take an hour on Monday and read a book, if even just a few chapters, about the Revolutionary War. Don't just be awed by the will of these people but put yourself among them and try to comprehend what it would be like to join in the inexplicably daunting effort of facing down a world power to win your freedom.

Watch a documentary about the Civil War and take your mind and body to a battlefield running so thick with the blood of soldiers you have a hard time keeping your footing.

Place yourself in a crude trench on a moonscape that used to be a lush European field, trying to maintain your sanity and your courage with the sights, sounds and smells of death and mustard gas enveloping your senses.

Imagine the dread that overtakes your soul as you feel the torpedoes rip through your battleship in the Pacific Ocean during World War II and you know that you will be sinking and drowning soon.

To honor those who lived those moments, we are being asked to remember, but what we need to do is feel.

Feel the dull heartache of being away from a wife, a husband and children for months on end, with no reunion in sight.

Feel the longing for a place, a job, a hobby, or even just a moment in time that lies far beyond your grasp, while always knowing you might never get that back again.

Feel the numbing shock of returning from a patrol and learning that a friend has been killed. See that face, remember that smile, that laugh. Feel that emptiness.

We don't have to do much. We don't have to march in a parade or listen to a speech or sing a hymn.

Just take the time and make the effort to feel. Really feel. If we can do that much, how we choose to make our sacrifice for this country may become clear.