Memorial Day 2010

I was working at a paper in Sumter, South Carolina, one year when we decided to mark Memorial Day by profiling some of the units that worked at nearby Shaw Air Force Base -- a fitting tribute, those involved in the planning thought, to honor the troops.

It wasn't until the project neared completion that someone remarked that Memorial Day was supposed to honor the fallen soldiers, those who had given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. The men and women we were profiling had certainly sacrificed to serve, but all of them were very much alive. A note was hastily added to the front page, pointing out that Memorial Day was for the dead, and we were paying tribute to them by chronicling the sacrifices of the living.

We tend to forget, amid the BBQ and the baseball games and the parades, what today is actually about. We have a vague notion that it is a day to celebrate our country and to remember our armed forces. But the details get lost, obscured by the smoke of the fireworks and the roar of the planes buzzing sports stadiums.

Remember, just for a day, what today is supposed to be all about.

After all, that was always supposed to be the point.

And a thank you from Team Speed Kills to those who have sacrificed their loved ones over the last eight-and-a-half years, and then all those who did so even before then. There's not a separate day set aside for us to celebrate you. There should be.

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