Skyward and Forward


For those looking skyward on May 6th, a military transport plane with a fighter jet on either wing flew over several hospitals in the Twin Cities metro area in a salute to the brave healthcare workers on the front lines of the COVID pandemic. The mission was called Operation American Resolve and coincided with National Nurses Day. Numerous Air National Guard units across the U.S. also conducted similar tributes at varying times.

Our St. Croix Valley’s contribution to the flyby involved an agreed-upon rendezvous point along County Road UU in the Town of Hudson, referred to as the soccer complex. The flying trio met high above the sprawling patch of green grass and headed west into the Twin Cities. Zoom and gone.

It doesn’t take much to cause eyes to water or throats to suddenly tighten, given the recent state of the world. The flyby was one of those occasions. Memorial Day 2020 may be another.

The modern Memorial Day was previously called Decoration Day. Between backyard barbeques and spring’s unofficial weekend kick-off, it’s a time to remember and honor members of the military who died in the service of their country, the U.S. of A. Mark the calendar for Monday, May 25th. Hopefully there won’t be virtual color guards or 21-gun salutes. Safe distancing practices may allow local ceremonies to go forward. Solemnly, however.

President Ronald Reagan paid tribute to America’s fallen military comrades in his first inaugural address back in 1981. He mentioned “the sloping hills of Arlington National Cemetery, with its row upon row of simple white markers, and . . . their lives ended in places called Belleau Wood, The Argonne, Omaha Beach, Salerno, and halfway around the world on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Pork Chop Hill, the Chosin Reservoir, and in a hundred rice paddies and jungles of a place called Vietnam.”

Fast forward to more modern times. Add Iraq, Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan to the list.

Most news is still not encouraging. One in five working adults may have lost jobs since mid-March. All units of government are coming to grips with lost revenue, budget cuts, and layoffs. For private business, supply chains are still pressed. Healthcare is stretched.

A prediction: Business, industry, and government will rise to the occasion and the U.S. will lead the global recovery. Better days are ahead.

Here’s to the men and women who died serving the United States. On May 25th, residents of the St. Croix Valley are encouraged to look skyward and forward. Inspiration is there.