Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day

There are a lot of things I don't enjoy covering for work, among them council meetings, the Halloween parade and the events of certain unnamed organizations. Today, though, I didn't mind covering events at all. Sure, there was a part of me that wished I could have a break. (I worked Saturday and Sunday, too.) But while I don't consider myself intensely patriotic and would quickly change the radio if "God Bless the USA" came on the air, covering ceremonies on holidays like Memorial Day is a truly enjoyable, satisfying experience.

First thing this morning I went to a brief, yet poignant, beach patrol ceremony. The lifeguards line the beach, the chief talks and the mayor, rowed out to sea by two members of the patrol, tosses a wreath into the waves. The ceremony has been going on for over a century, and this year there was a break from the norm when most of the talking was done be a returning beach patrol member who just finished three tours (and four years) serving in Iraq. It's a simple, brief event that I've covered for the past three years now.

Over the bridge, I shot a parade and attended a ceremony at the Veterans memorial. Personally, I feel this city outdoes all others when it comes to honoring the military and veterans. The organizations over there are incredibly active and the passion and love is so evident at every event. The parade was huge and took the time to honor each group of veterans from wars and conflicts. The cheering was constant, but when the Iraq and Afghanistan vets marched by the applause and cheering rose a few octaves. It's interesting, because you know everyone lining that street does not agree with our President. You know they don't all support the current war. But there was no question that they all support our troops.

I don't think I'll be a writer forever, and I know there will come a time when I'm no longer running around covering events on holidays. But I'm going to always make it a point to attend these types of events on Memorial Day. I'll always take the time to pause and remember. Our soldiers gave their lives fighting for us, and there is no way to ever even begin to repay that sacrifice. The least I can do is think of them, thank them and continue to live my life. They died so I could.

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