As Memorial Day approaches, it's a good time to remember military leaders and others who secured our freedoms, allowing us to look forward in confidence.

Retired Army four-star Gen. Colin Powell, who was also US secretary of state, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and national security adviser, will offer insights on defense, foreign relations and national security Dec. 5 for the New Albany Community Foundation. Serving the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and both George H.W. and George W. Bush, Powell headlines the foundation’s 2017 Remarkable Evening fundraiser at the home of Les and Abigail Wexner.

Other 2017-18 Jefferson Series speakers lined up for the foundation are Generals Michael Hayden, Stanley McChrystal and Peter Pace as well as CBS Radio host Charles Osgood and ABC News anchor Elizabeth Vargas.

Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Carnegie Author Series this summer includes a military theme with local author William Shkurti on July 20. His first book, Soldiering On in a Dying War, focuses on the Vietnam War. Shkurti’s second book, The Ohio State University in the Sixties: Unraveling of the Old Order, explores the tensions of the time. First up at the free library series is novelist Dan Chaon on June 18.

Heroes of another sort are the focus of a nine-week summer reading program as the library offers “Be a Hero, Read,” inviting readers of all ages to earn badges and prizes. The program starts with a family-friendly kickoff at Main Library on June 3.

Exercise freedom to shop June 11 at the Summer Avant-Garde Art and Craft Show at Hilliard’s Makoy Center. Local arts and crafts are featured.

Exercise freedom to follow alternative sports as the Greater Columbus Convention Center hosts North American Gay Volleyball AssociationChampionships from Friday through Sunday. This year’s 35th annual championships are expected to draw 94 teams with 1,000 players, coaches, volunteers and fans coming from across the US as well as Canada and Puerto Rico.