Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

Today, the day after Pentecost, is Memorial Day. We take this day to remember all who died in our nation’s service, the veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice. President Bush will visit Arlington Cemetery, and during yesterday’s News from Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor recited the Gettysburg Address; Flanders Field; O Captain, My Captain, and other fitting poems.

I was once told that Memorial Day isn’t really about our war heroes, that it’s a day for all our loved ones who have ever died. You can visit any grave; it doesn’t have to be a soldier’s. A little research shows that no, Memorial Day did indeed start as a day for remembering the Civil War, and was expanded to all wars after World War I.

But it is of no consequence to me whether or not this day is about remembering loved ones or about remembering soldiers, because when I remember my Granddad Justin, I remember both. He died before we could take that fishing trip or tour those Civil War battlefields, but that’s ok, because I know we’ll still get to do it, just a little later than he intended.

(Note: Granddad Justin, a colonel, did not die in war, but he served just the same. He rests in Arlington, overlooking his old Pentagon office.)

Awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, and Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster.

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