America

Some Memorial Day 2010 Listening, Reading

Arlington National Cemetery headstones. i i

Headstone of Army Col. Paul Michael Kelly is surrounded by flowers and an American flag, Sunday, May 30, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP Photo
Arlington National Cemetery headstones.

Headstone of Army Col. Paul Michael Kelly is surrounded by flowers and an American flag, Sunday, May 30, 2010, at Arlington National Cemetery

Haraz N. Ghanbari/AP Photo

It's Memorial Day 2010, the day when millions will remember those killed in military service to the nation — who, as President Abraham Lincoln said of Civil War dead at Gettysburg, gave the "last full measure of devotion."

A few Memorial Day pieces in keeping with the true meaning of the day.

In a piece on Morning Edition the family of Marine Pfc Donald Wayne Vincent remembered the member of the 2nd Bn., 8th Reg. killed in Afghanistan last year.

Andrew Bacevich, a veteran and Boston University professor whose soldier son was killed in Iraq three years ago, writes of how Memorial Day's arrival brings with it uncomfortable focus on some of the unwise political decisions that have added to American casualties.

The U.S. military didn't always have a policy of returning the remains of America's fallen to their families instead burying troops where they fell or in national cemeteries until 1898, according to a Wall Street Journal report. Since 2001, the bodies of more than 5,000 troops have been returned to the U.S. from battlefields in Afghanistan and Iraq by air crews who can't help but be affected by the sad duty.

President Barack Obama was criticized by some for not attending this year's annual Memorial Day ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. (He'll participate in a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Ill., about 50 miles away from Chicago. But as Peter Maer of CBS News notes, Obama isn't the first president to observe Memorial Day away from Arlington.

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