Memorial Day 2010

Names on Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

What a great time to be in Washington D.C. (Wednesday, Thursday.) We scream and shout and hoot and holler, but the magical American experiment in self-rule continues on. Washington is our Capitol, and a reminder, through its monuments and beauty and bustle, of our nation's specialness, warts and all. (The warts are as much of it as are the glorious bits.)

As almost always when in D.C., I make a detour to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. Our sustaining democracy has not come inexpensively, from Concord to Kandahar. Monday, called Memorial Day, is the day we set aside—and have been setting aside since the late 1860s—to honor those who fought for American freedom. We will have our parades and hot dogs, but it is also a somber occasion to be honored by prayer and silence, too.

People by Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

I always am found wearing a baseball cap. And the last few days, for no particular reason, I've been wearing my Rosie the Riveter cap. The sacrifice of American lives helped win World War II, but American tools and armaments were at least as important. And in our nation, Rosies were as important as Privates and Lieutenants in the Army.

So lets give thanks to our soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines, but also to those who have given them the tools to prevail. And, also, guide your prayers to the families who have most recently lost sons and daughters and husbands and wives and nephews and nieces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Above and below and center, the Vietnam wall.)

Flowers by Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall