Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Funday: Making Memories

As we remind you every year, on this particular Friday, Memorial Day weekend begins today, carrying with it the usual broad variety of meanings; the end of the school year, the unofficial beginning of summer, high school graduations, and - as usual - our one week Memorial Day vacation.

While the holiday is officially Monday, we hope that you remember our U.S. servicemembers all year 'round - those currently serving, those whose active duty years are in the past, and most importantly, those that gave their lives for our nation.

This will be a special holiday this year, the first Memorial Day since the official end of the Iraq war - and hopefully one of the last before the end of the Afghan conflict. We offer our thanks to all of those who have served, and wish this year - as we have every year - that all of our service members come home sooner, rather than later, alive and well. For those that did not make it home, this holiday was meant to make us remember their sacrifices.

To us, Memorial Day is first about remembering those who gave all for their fellow Americans, without regard for their fellow Americans' race, gender, sexual preference, age, economic status, or any other factor.

It should also be a bit about remembering those who made it home - but we then forgot about.

Sadly, many in America have forgotten the sacrifices of our service members, in the past. Korea and Vietnam are perfect - and shameful - examples of how Americans ignored those who served, once they came home.

Others in the media have strongly noted over the last couple of years - including, more than anyone else, Rachel Maddow - that although the war in Iraq is done, as a nation we still haven't publicly celebrated the return of our Iraq War vets and those vets from Afghanistan who are also now home for good.

We firmly agree with Rachel's sentiment, that there should some way to publicly remember, celebrate and thank the veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, wherever they live.

Although the official position of the Pentagon is that we should not celebrate Iraq and Afghanistan until all troops are home from both wars, some cities across the nation have already decided to go ahead with their own parades - and we hope your hometown is one of those places.

Even if it isn't, if you know someone who has been a member of our armed forces, or if you see someone this weekend who served, or is still serving, thank them. All our service members, past and present, are well worth remembering this weekend and throughout the year.

As we noted last year, to us this weekend shouldn't just be about remembering. It should also be about celebrating the things many of our nation's finest gave their lives for.

In that spirit, we salute the millions of young people graduating from high school this weekend, and celebrate their accomplishments.

If you're spending this weekend volunteering your time, energy, and effort helping others? We salute you too.

As we've said previously, America isn't just a country. It's a series of communities and people tied together by common bonds, including the belief that things can always improve if we work together and believe in one another. We give each other hope to keep reaching farther; to keep working harder (and smarter);  to do the right thing, when it would be easier to do the wrong one. All of that is possible, thanks to those who were willing to give their last measure so that the rest of us might have one more day, week, month, or trip around the sun.

We hope you remember this weekend, and our service members - but we also hope you celebrate the opportunities they allowed all of us to have.

Enjoy the weekend.

We'll see you when we return June 4.

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