When you hear "37 troops were killed in a car bombing in Baghdad," you're hearing about people like me, my husband, and possibly your brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, mother, father, or next-door neighbor.
When you see the names on the Vietnam memorial, or on other monuments, or graves of those fallen in battle, you are seeing the names of real people who lived, and loved, and laughed, and cried, and hurt just like the rest of us.
You are seeing the names of people who voluntarily (and, in some cases, such as WWII and Vietnam and Korea, involuntarily) gave up many of the personal and civil rights that we as private citizens take for granted, trusting that their leaders would use them well and honorably in the pursuit of freedom, and that their sacrifice would be somehow of value.
Some were noble heroes, and some were not. There is, after all, good and evil in all of us. But on this one day, I would like to remember those fallen warriors with honor and reflection. Remember their humanity, and that they were a part of us, and that they are no more, and recognize this loss.
At 3:00pm today (your local time), for one brief minute, I hope you will join me in observing the National Moment of Remembrance. Memorial Day should be more than "the day the pool opens." Rather, it is a day on which, in the words of Abraham Lincoln:
the mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart ... should swell into a mighty chorus of remembrance, gratitude, and rededication on this solemn occasion.
To those who serve, and have served: you are not forgotten.
This, I swear while I yet live.