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Memorial Day 2011

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From the Huffington Post:

As many of us excitedly look forward to gathering with friends and family and enjoying the long weekend, it's easy to lose sight of the significance of Memorial Day.

But for military families across the U.S., especially those of the estimated 5,885 American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the last 10 years of war, it's a day to remember and honor those who have given their lives for our country.

For anyone in need of a refresher, Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Civil War soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery to honor their sacrifices. In 1971, federal law changed the observance of the holiday to the last Monday in May and extended it to honor all who had died in American wars.

Today, many cities celebrate Memorial Day with parades, speeches and the decoration of graves. At Arlington National Cemetery, an American flag is placed on each grave, and it's tradition for the president or vice president to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

As you make preparations for your weekend barbecues or camping trips, consider how you can do something for the soldiers who have done so much for our country -- whether by honoring a fallen soldier, supporting a military family or brightening the day of one currently serving.
It's easier for me to understand the tremendous sacrifice of our armed services if I can visualize it. Last night I watched a special episode of 60 Minutes that I highly recommend - it can be viewed in it's entirety online:

"60 Minutes" Presents: Honoring Our Soldiers

The first living soldier to win the Medal of Honor since Vietnam tells Lara Logan what he did to earn the nation's highest combat honor; plus Logan takes viewers to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Also, today at 11:00 AM EST, HBO will be airing it's most outstanding film: Taking Chance

This film is nonpolitical and should be viewed by every American, especially on Memorial Day.

Inspired by the true story of the United States Marine who volunteered to escort the remains of a nineteen year old soldier who was killed in Iraq to his small hometown in remote Wyoming, Taking Chance stars Kevin Bacon in the feature directorial debut of Oscar-nominated producer Ross Katz. Lance Corporal Chance Phelps (USMC) was just nineteen years old when he was killed during active duty. Now, as Lance Corporal Phelps is prepared for his final journey back home, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl (USMC) (Bacon) makes it his personal mission to ensure that his fallen brother is laid to rest with the proper respect. As the journey begins, Lieutenant Colonel Strobl gains a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made in war than ever before. AMC Movie Guide

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