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Honor them before it's too late

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These past two weeks — bookended by the dedication of a veterans' monument in Galax on Memorial Day and the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of World War II on June 6 — have reminded us all of the debt we owe the men and women of our armed forces, especially those who served in the second world war.

More than six decades later, a great deal of the world is free due to the actions of World War II veterans.

D-Day, the Allied invasion of France in 1944 to take back Europe from Nazi occupation, was as monumental, daring and epic a battle as the world has ever seen. It was the turning point of a global conflict that threatened to crush free nations under the march of tyranny and destruction.

But the march of time is an enemy we can't fight, and the world is losing World War II veterans at a swift pace.

Those behind the veterans' memorial project in Galax know this very well, and their mission to raise money to build the monument is made an urgent one by this fact.

They want the memorial completed quickly so World War II veterans can see it and use it to share their stories with family and friends.

It is imperative that the community get behind this cause and make sure the granite pillars rise before too many more veterans fall.

We owe them that, and so much more.

With an army made up of volunteers today, we forget that Americans were once drafted into service, pulled away from their loved ones to fight for the world's freedom. They served with honor, with valor and with the understanding that it was a fight they had to win.

Now, it's our mission to make sure that service is never forgotten.