May 29, 2006

Memorial Day
Today is Memorial Day – the one day a year dedicated to the men and women who have died in military service to our country.

One thing I’m thankful for in 2006 is that virtually all Americans are now able to separate our feelings about any particular war from the respect and gratitude we show our individual soldiers (or sailors, marines, etc). Just 30 years ago many Americans were so blinded by their hatred of, or disappointment about, the Vietnam War that they took it out on the returning veterans themselves. For a variety of reasons, the country did not properly welcome our troops home.

Today, most Americans are pretty careful to honor the individual Americans who serve, regardless of their political beliefs. That’s as it should be. The troops themselves have varying positions on whatever conflict they are sent into. But they follow orders and do what the country asks of them. We owe each of them respect for that service. And we owe the fallen more than we can possibly repay – to them or their families. Rest in peace. And thank you for your service to our country.

Last Monday in May
by John T. Bird (copyright 2006)

We pause to remember those who died
With so much courage, so much pride

They’ll never come back, yet memories endure
To remind us of freedom: fragile, pure

We’re worthy of their sacrifice if we pause each day
Not just on the last Monday in May

You can read about the history of Memorial Day at this location on the History Channel web site. There is more information about Memorial Day at the web site for the White House Commission on Remembrance, and at a site dedicated in memory of our honored dead.