Thursday, June 02, 2005


We’ve known each other for decades and chatted on Sunday night before Memorial Day. I’m glad our church took the time to recognize this American holiday—few do these days. The multi-media presentation was a bit too real for Reggie, however. Since his 1965 stint in Viet Nam, the images replay in his head frequently and this experience quickly transported him back to the horrific scenes of war. The emotion was obvious. I put my arm on his shoulder and attempted to understand as he shared with me his vivid memories…lest we forget.

Recognized as Decoration Day in 1868, the holiday first honored patriots who died in the Civil War by decorating their graves. Its named changed to Memorial Day in 1882 and now honors soldiers who died in other wars as well. It wasn’t until 1971 that Memorial Day became a national holiday held on the last Monday in May…lest we forget.

Lloyd lives across the street. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War and later assisted with the deployment of Minuteman missiles during those “cold war” years with the Soviet Union. He also assisted our country and contractors in the development of Saturn rocket technology. Lloyd remembers the paranoia of the sixties and seventies...lest we forget.

A few weeks ago our family viewed the stories of everyday Americans in “The Perilous Flight: America’s World War II in Color.” This presentation is an intimate account of people who lived this thirteen-year experience. The website [] which accompanies this documentary is powerful media as well. The extensive timeline of the war itself is worth exploring the site that dramatically shares stories of everyday Americans. I was certainly impressed with how this PBS special provided a graphic connection to the past…lest we forget.

The rapt attention of my social studies students as they watched the “Military Salute” presentation on Tuesday following Memorial Day was obvious. Maybe they weren’t aware of the effort it takes to maintain our freedom; or that an estimated 1800 veterans die every day. Maybe the precise rows of graves at Arlington National Cemetery left an impression; and that we now face a shortage of “hallowed ground” for those who served in the armed forces. No matter, I think they discovered the reality of Memorial Day…lest we forget.


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