Technically, Memorial Day is not a political holiday. But, in the midst of an election year the two are inevitably intertwined. Today, each of the presidential candidates joined millions of Americans marking the national holiday, while President Bush laid a wreath and spoke at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery.
And recent verbal sparring between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama over veterans benefits and the stark differences between parties over the ongoing Iraq war promise that the military will remain a hot topic until the election.
So, for those not yet sick of candidate news, Time magazine’s Web site offers a one-stop collection of candidate statements regarding the holiday. This Baltimore Sun commentary offers a good synopsis as well. Many of their musings on the day are more eloquent than I could manage.
Political maneuverings aside, there is, of course, a broader and more important message for the day: remembering those who have died while in military service for this country. Communities, including several in the Flathead Valley, hold downtown parades and reverent cemetery vigils.
And newspapers attempt to offer meaningful features following the
holiday’s theme. From this special feature in the Los Angeles Times to an interesting piece in the Christian Science Monitor, a quick Google search can turn up plenty of news for one to mull over the holiday.
Memorial Day, I think, is a holiday that holds a unique meaning for each individual. Personally, in addition to its traditional meaning, it also serves as a reminder of those in my family who have died, regardless of military affiliation, and of past family vacation made sweet by the end of school and unofficial summer kickoff. So, as you gorge yourself on barbecue, relish in an extra day off and enjoy what has been an all-too-rare sunny day in the Flathead, I hope you can also enjoy a few moments of remembering – whatever that may mean for you.
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