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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

This month marks the 147th anniversary of one of the first memorial days, then called Decoration Day, in Charleston, SC.

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who have died in our nation's military service. Our national observance has slipped away with the long weekend, but the real sense of loss will hang about those left behind: mothers, wives, children, comrades, friends, ... For them and their fallen loved ones, I include these thoughts from Arlington National Cemetery through the famous photograph by John Moore, and the words of Rich Galen:
Arlington National Cemetery, on Memorial Day, has nothing to do with the sweep and grandeur of history, nor the gigantic commitment of resources to battles and wars; nor grand strategies and brilliant tactics.

Mary McHugh at the grave of  Sgt. James Regan
(photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

It is a place where - and the day when - we remember the individual men and women who were killed at Bull Run, and Belleau-Wood, at Iwo Jima, on Omaha Beach, and in Korea, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq and all the other un-locatable places with unpronounceable names where we have too-often sent young men and women to fight and, too often, to die.

Arlington National Cemetery, on Memorial Day, has everything to do with a single white headstone nestled in a neat row among all the other white headstones next to it, in front of it, and behind it. Up hills and down swales.

It stands, along with the others, in silent acceptance of a nation's gratitude.

Update:

For more on John Moore's photo, check out this video:

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