Editorial: Remembering the names of the fallen

  • Two years ago, Elgin dedicated the block where Cpl. Alex Martinez grew up in the fallen Marine's honor.

    Two years ago, Elgin dedicated the block where Cpl. Alex Martinez grew up in the fallen Marine's honor. John Starks FILE 2019 | Staff Photographer

 
Daily Herald Editorial Board
Posted10/16/2021 2:00 PM

A week ago, the city of Aurora remembered three fallen Marines by dedicating streets in their honor. Singled out were the blocks where they grew up.

What a meaningful and lasting way to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the Iraq War veterans.

 

The 700 block of Fifth Avenue was dedicated for Lance Cpl. Hector Ramos, killed in action in 2005 at age 20.

The 1100 block of Liberty Street was dedicated in the name of Lance Cpl. Edwardo Lopez, who died in 2006 at age 21.

The 300 block of Jackson Street was dedicated in honor of Lance Cpl. Jesse de la Torre, who was killed in the line of duty in 2007 at age 29.

Tributes like this are not uncommon, nor should they be. We all owe a debt that cannot be repaid to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect our community, our country and our freedoms.

Two years ago, for example, Elgin placed an honorary street sign in remembrance of Marine Capt.. Alex Martinez at the intersection leading into the 200 block of Melrose Avenue where he grew up. He was killed at age 21 in the line of duty in Afghanistan in 2012.

The tributes that took place last Sunday were part of Aurora's Avanzando series to mark Hispanic Heritage Month. Each of the three East Aurora High School graduates were Hispanic.

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But such tributes do not have to be restricted to any specific ethnic group. And across the suburbs, they are not.

All those who gave their lives for their country are worthy of similar respect.

More than a century ago, in 1868, James A. Garfield -- at the time a general, not yet president -- made note of what Abraham Lincoln described as "the last full measure of devotion" in a speech Garfield offered on the nation's first Memorial Day.

"We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke," Garfield said, "but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country, they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue."

Across the suburbs, native sons and daughters who died in war often have received hometown honors of one sort or another.

The street dedications seem a particularly apt remembrance. We recommend that these honors become universal gestures for any who give their lives.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Let us always remember the names.

There's a saying that goes, "Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies with the last breath of each soldier who died protecting it."

Let us remember those breaths.

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