Our View: Memorial Day weekend is about more than fun | SierraSun.com

Our View: Memorial Day weekend is about more than fun

Yes, it has been cold and cloudy ” even snowy ” over the Memorial Day weekend. The fickle weather may have ruined some of our fun-filled plans.

But before we get irritated by life’s little inconveniences, think about where we could be spending the big summer kick-off weekend; think Iraq and Afghanistan.

While many of us enjoy Memorial Day as a three-day weekend, the original intent was and is to take a day to remember those who won’t ever again get a chance to have fun with family and friends because they died while serving their country.

That includes the 2,462 Americans who have been killed in the war in Iraq as of

May 26. That’s about 816 more than at last year’s Memorial Day weekend.

And, sadly, between May 26 and when you read this, that number will surely have gone up.

Add the number of men and women who have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of that conflict, and that’s more than 2,700 soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who won’t be coming home to enjoy even a cold day boating on their hometown lakes; lakes like Tahoe and Donner.

We all should stop at some point in our busy lives today and remember why this “holiday” weekend exists, and why, with members of our armed forces now dying in far-off war zones, this public holiday is called Memorial Day.

Decoration Day started as a day to remember the Union soldiers who died during the Civil War by decorating their graves. It was later renamed Memorial Day, with the idea of recognizing all fallen soldiers of any conflict. After World War II, Memorial Day became the common name for the holiday. Finally, some 30 years ago, the day was made a federal holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May.

And as we said last year in this space, to really understand what this weekend means, go to http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2003/iraq/forces/casualties/index.html to see the names and faces of the people who have given their lives recently so that we may actually enjoy a holiday weekend.

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