On Memorial Day 2009

arlingtonParades, picnics, barbeques, neighborhood parties are many of the activities scheduled for the last day of this 3-day weekend. On the other hand, after watching interviews with Admiral Mullen and several Iraq-War veterans, I was once again reminded that today is not about any of the things, but more about remembering those who died while serving.

I must admit, I didn’t serve any military time; nor did many of my friends. Today I know more who served in Vietnam than I knew at the time of that war. Although I had a draft lottery number of 046 and had successfully passed my induction physical, President Nixon had started troop withdrawal.

But in those recent interviews, these soldiers asked us to remember the fallen warriors – the ones who returned home in a flag-draped casket. So with this post, I recall Tommy from my hometown.

Tommy was the first person I knew to die in combat. Although I was 7 years younger, I knew him as one of the teenagers who helped while I was in little league, plus through the American Legion where both of our fathers were members. I recall how the news of his death shocked our small town, and for some reason he occasionally pops into my mind over the past 40 years.

In the early 1990s I recall my first and only trip to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington. A different felling came upon me as I walked down the ramp into this simple-looking memorial. I never found Tommy’s name, but I thought about him again on that day.

So today, salute to you Tommy, as well as all others who have died while serving this country over the past 200+ years.

Here’s a collection of editorials cartoonists from around the country.

Image from ArlingtonCemetary.org