Memorial Day will be quieter this year. No bands. No crowds. No speeches.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts to cancel community observances. In a few cemeteries scattered across the heartland, honor guards will present colors but crowds cannot gather.

Many people will mourn that this will be a quiet Memorial Day Monday, but the relative silence should give us time to reflect on what it means.

M -- Military. The men and women in uniform who died while serving our country.

E -- Everything. They gave it all.

M -- Many wars. Too many and too many dead, so we must ensure they didn’t die in vain.

O -- Occasion. We dedicate this day, with or without grand words, to honor them.

R -- Republic. They stood firm to ensure ours is a representative democracy.

I -- Independent. We remain “one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice” for

A -- All. Their sacrifices are for all of us.

L -- Life … liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They held these truths to be self-evident, and we should, too.

D -- Duty. They did theirs.

A -- America. They died so that these United States of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Y -- Year in and year out, we shall remember.

We don’t need grand ceremonies, emotional speeches and patriotic music this Memorial Day. The ultimate tribute will be to live responsibly and respectfully -- and sometimes silently -- in the year ahead, mindful of the freedom to do so.