05/24/19 12:00pm

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO

The significance of Memorial Day had faded because of the relative peace America was blessed with, lasting from the mid-1970s to the turn of the century. Since then, however, we can’t escape remembering Americans who gave, in Lincoln’s phrase, “the last full measure of devotion” in the seemingly endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and most recently, Syria and Niger.
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11/16/18 8:00am

COURTESY PHOTO

When we moved from Southern California to Alexandria, Virginia in the early 1990s, we did what any normally curious people would do in this new territory. We explored the trove of historical sites that nearly inundate the region: the august memorials on The Mall; Civil War battlefields all over the place; and running or biking to Mt. Vernon seven miles away, to mention a few. (more…)

05/27/18 3:00pm
PETER WALDNER

PETER WALDNER ILLUSTRATION

On Memorial Day 2009, President Barack Obama gave an eloquent eulogy for those who have died wearing American uniforms: “If the fallen could speak to us, what would they say? Would they console us? Perhaps they might say that while they could not know they’d be called upon to storm a beach through a hail of gunfire, they were willing to give up everything for the defense of our freedom; that while they could not know they’d be called upon to jump into the mountains of Afghanistan and seek an elusive enemy, they were willing to sacrifice all for their country; that while they couldn’t possibly know they would be called to leave this world for another, they were willing to take that chance to save the lives of their brothers and sisters in arms.”

Officially sanctioned ceremonies for remembering the war dead go back at least as far as Homer. And every year, at the crossroads of spring and summer, Americans continue that honored — and essential — tradition of refusing to forget. (more…)

05/27/16 12:00pm
PETER WALDNER ILLUSTRATION

PETER WALDNER ILLUSTRATION

It’s not news to say we associate our holidays with material things and comforts rather than what they were intended to mean when inaugurated.

Memorial Day and its summer bookend, Labor Day, have struggled to keep their original meanings. Memorial Day has recovered some of its essence because of a younger generation remembered for their service and sacrifices in Iraq and Afghanistan these last, long, bloody 13 years. (more…)