For Your Consideration On This Memorial Day, 2007
By Desi Doyen on 5/28/2007, 12:01pm PT  

Guest blogged by DES

Veteran's Day is intended to honor and remember the sacrifices of those who came home from our nation's wars and military actions around the world, and celebrate their ongoing contribution to society. Memorial Day is reserved for remembrance of those we have lost.

This day does not occur in a vacuum --- aside from the opportunity to gather with family and friends, it is one of those days that reminds us we are all Americans, all joined together in a shared journey through history.

Please take a moment today to remember those souls who have served and passed from us. Take a moment to thank their family members, who have also sacrificed, who have borne the loss of their loved ones in the service of our country. Take a moment to reach out to a veteran who has surely lost friends in the battlefield, and let them know you have not forgotten. Take a moment to reach out to a current service member and their family, and let them know they are not forgotten or invisible.

Take a moment to visit your local military cemetery, to teach the young ones among you why we do this every year on the last Monday in May --- show them who has gone before them, teach them that there is a special place reserved in our hearts for those who have served our country, in war and peace, and why.

Regardless of whether you agree with the policies that have placed our service members in harm's way, these individual men and women in our military family are each unique American individuals, with mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, children, extended family, friends, co-workers... each has a constellation of hearts bound to them. (Oddly, there is no special day for the families of those who have served.)

It is not humanly possible to fully comprehend the loss of each and every one of these souls, or to adequately sum up each of their lives, but we can strive to remember them, honor them, and honor the sacrifice of those they have left behind.

Wherever an American service member remains in harm's way, we will strive to bring them home safely, so that we may honor and celebrate them, in person, on Veteran's Day. And we will continue to work and pray for a time to come when we will have no new losses to grieve on Memorial Day.

Following, some food for thought in contemplation on this Day of Memory...

Op-Chart: In Memoriam

THIS Memorial Day weekend we honor the memories of the nearly 3,600 Americans who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. As the number of casualties has grown over the last four years, it has been easy for Americans to at times lose track of the individual lives that have been taken away. The chart at left is meant to bring these losses back into focus, to serve as a reminder of the conflict’s daily toll.

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.

What exactly is a father's duty when his son is sent into harm's way?

U.S. deaths near grim Memorial Day mark

BAGHDAD - Americans have opened nearly 1,000 new graves to bury U.S. troops killed in Iraq since Memorial Day a year ago. The figure is telling — and expected to rise in coming months.

Keep politics out of Memorial Day: It's a day to honor America's heroes – not to make pro- or anti-war statements.

[T]his column is about Memorial Day, a hallowed day that should be about honoring the more than 1 million men and women who died in the service of this nation in wars and conflicts dating back to 1775. It should be above politics. Period.

...It brings to mind the words of Army Sergeant 1st Class Jack Robison, who recently wrote from Iraq, "Sometimes I think God must be creating an elite unit in heaven, because He only seems to select the very best soldiers to bring home early."

War Without End

Never mind how badly the war is going in Iraq.

The Fear of Farewell

Is fear of the unknown really worse than fear of the known?

I ask myself this question as the father of a U.S. soldier who will soon redeploy to Iraq.

A Long Time Gone: As Minnesota Guardsmen's Tour Is Extended, Small Home Towns Acutely Feel Their Absence

CROOKSTON, Minn. As often as he can, 6-year-old Austin Cassavant sits by his mother's computer and watches his father's face appear on the webcam from Iraq. On good days, sitting thousands of miles apart, they will tell stories and play tic-tac-toe.

Waiting for his father's return, Austin began writing down his thoughts on slips of paper and dropping them in a jar. No one knows what he writes. "He and his dad can go through them," his grandmother said, "when he's home."

Feel free to add your own thoughts for the jar by leaving them here in comments...

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