2007-05-23 / Editorials

Remember Those Who Died For Peace And Freedom

America's war dead will be commemorated next week. The federal holiday will be celebrated on Monday, May 28, but some events will take place earlier and others on May 30, the day officially proclaimed by Union General John Logan in 1868 as "designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country" during the Civil War. After World War I ended in November 1918, Decoration Day gradually evolved into Memorial Day and Americans who died in any war were remembered.

"There never was a good war or a bad peace" holds an aphorism that has been widely quoted, especially in light of some present-day developments. We beg to differ. High ideals about the right of individuals to govern themselves were the founding principles of this nation, but it was the soldiers of the Continental Army who bought the right of free people to develop the Constitution. For many thousands, the price of freedom was human lives. Even today, it is our armed forces whose members preserve that freedom for us. It is our soldiers, not the clergy, who preserve freedom of religion, our soldiers, not journalists, who preserve freedom of speech.

"No form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit," Logan's General Order No. 11 establishing then Decoration Day declared. Considering the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform so willingly make, "fitting services and testimonials of respect" in the midst of all the other holiday merrymaking are the least we can do for those to whom we owe so much.

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