Taking Note of Memorial Day

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A quick history lesson about Memorial Day, which began more than 100 years ago — the brainchild of former Civil War general John Logan. And at Arlington National Cemetery, President Bush lays a wreath of at the Tomb of the Unknowns and speaks of "new hallowed ground."

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

From the studios of NPR West, this is DAY TO DAY. I'm Madeleine Brand.

ALEX COHEN, host:

And I'm Alex Cohen.

Coming up on the program this Memorial Day, Iraq war veterans tell us about the people they are choosing to remember today. Also, we'll hear about memorial Web sites that honor those who serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

BRAND: In one year, since we last celebrated Memorial Day, 980 more U.S. troops have died.

COHEN: Memorial Day began more than 100 years ago. One Memorial Day tradition was inspired by Civil War General John Logan. In 1868, Logan said to honor our fallen troops flowers should be strewn about the graves of those whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.

(Soundbite of "Taps")

BRAND: Today, upholding that tradition at Arlington National Cemetery, President Bush laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

President GEORGE W. BUSH: Now this hallowed ground receives a new generation of heroes - men and women who gave their lives in places such as Kabul and Kandahar, Baghdad and Ramadi. Like those who came before them, they did not want war, but they answered the call when it came. They believed in something larger than themselves. They fought for our country, and our country unites to mourn them as one.

COHEN: President Bush speaking at Arlington National Cemetery today.

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