In Memoriam

It seems sadly fitting that the US death toll reached 1,000 in the Afghanistan war this weekend.

I’ve discovered that there seems to be some confusion about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. That fact confuses me, frankly, though their previous designations would be much more unclear.

Memorial Day, which falls on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Veterans Day, initially designated as Armistice Day in 1919, after World War I is a celebration to honor America’s veterans.

It seems sadly fitting that the US toll reached 1,000 deaths in the Afghanistan war this weekend, with “more U.S. military deaths in the last 10 months… than in the first five years of the conflict. More boots on the ground than in Iraq.”

Despite my major misgivings about the war(s), the list of war dead always affects me, every Sunday morning on ABC News’ This Week.
Here’s the one for February 10, 2008, which also noted the death of ABC’s former Pentagon correspondent John McWethy, who asked a former Secretary of Defense a pertinent question. This one, for February 15, 2010, also noted the deaths of Congressman John Murtha, who opposed the Iraq war, and former Congressman Charlie Wilson, who was a proponent of US involvement in Afghanistan years before the current conflict.

Oh, yeah, the lie that Obama’s non-presence at Arlington is somehow unprecedented. I’m perfectly comfortable with differences of opinions; deliberate prevarication is something else again.

Celebrity deaths:
Art Linkletter, 97 – I watched House Party when I was a kid, probably up to when I went to kindergarten, but not so much afterward. I always think that the “darndest things” the kids said rather annoying, actually.
Gary Coleman, 42 – I might have watched a half-season of Diff’rent Strokes, maybe less, before bailing. The L.A. Times obit made mention of his “unlikely run for California governor”. As though the state hadn’t elected an actor in the position before. He becomes another cautionary tale, I suppose.
Dennis Hopper, 74 – I remember him from my earliest television watching, though I didn’t know his name. I know him best from Easy Rider, but he was also the villain in the first movie The Wife and I ever saw together, Speed. I was still watching 24 for his villainous turn there. He was an artist and an iconoclast. Damn, died of prostate cancer, just like my father.

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