Memorial Day is not about the BBQ

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 14, 2004

One of my duties here at the newspaper is to write an editorial for each edition.

Some weeks I hit the mark and some weeks, I fly way off into orbit.

For many newspapers, this would be the traditional weekend to write an editorial admonishing drivers to drive safely so that they won't wind up as a statistic.

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I've even seen newspapers telling people to have fun this weekend, and I'm always left thinking why should this weekend be fun?

Sure, it's the first official weekend of the "summer" season, but it is suppose to be about remembering our country's fallen heroes.

It's not about the amount of beer you can drink in a three-day weekend, how much barbeque you put away or if you and Biddy, Muffy, Tuffy and Bibkins made it to the beach.

I believe when we suggest such things for Memorial Day weekend, we cheapen the sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of young men and women who have given their lives in the name of our freedom.

They’ve given their lives and their limbs. Some have given their sanity. All have given their best. So we can barbecue? I don’t think so.

When you proclaim Memorial Day a time for fun and games, you lessen the value of the lives of our departed loved ones. Our mothers and dads, our children, our brothers and sisters. Our friends.

In 2001, I had the task of calling on a mother whose son was one of the first fatalities in the War on Terrorism.

He was Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Bryson from Montgomery.

I tried for the longest to get through to her and finally reached her about 11 p.m.

We were already in the final countdown to press deadline, but we needed to get her reaction.

Despite learning just a short time earlier with a call from the White House that her only child was dead, this woman showed remarkable courage and strength.

She talked about his calling her on his birthday and how much she loved him.

When I got my final answer, I just sort of stammered that it was a privilege for me to talk to her.

She responded that the privilege was her's because she was a soldier's mom.

This Monday, we have an opportunity to remember the Butler Countians who paid the ultimate price in our country's last World War.

The dedication of the World War II monument is at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

There are supposed to be many veterans there.

What a great sight it would be if we all showed up there for the dedication to show these men that their sacrifice and those ones who didn't come home have not been forgotten.

So if I may, I would say that you put off your BBQ plans and such for about one hour Monday and plan to attend this event.

It is important that this is not a holiday for fun and games, but rather for remembering the fallen.

As we now lose more soldiers to yet another war, take the time Monday to show your support for them all.

If you must do fun and games, do drive safely.

God bless the fallen heroes.

God bless the living heroes and God bless America.