READING THEIR NAMES
Jeff Greenfield is a news correspondent for ABC News. He lives in Salisbury, Connecticutt and has attended the same Memorial Day observance in his community for the last 15 years. He writes:
"At 10 a.m., the parade begins moving down Main Street. It is a small parade: two vintage cars, bearing the region’s oldest war veterans; the men and women who served in the military; the Salisbury Town Band; the Scouts; the Housatonic Day Care Center; the fire trucks from the volunteer fire departments in and around the Northwest Corner. We fall in line behind the fire trucks, and follow the parade to the cemetery. There’s a hymn, and a prayer, followed by a Scout who reads the Gettysburg Address, haltingly, shyly. Then come the names of the men who died in the World Wars, in Korea, in Vietnam. A minister recites the 23rd Psalm, a bugler plays taps (with another bugler far away playing the echo), the flag is raised from half-staff, and we all walk the few steps back to the Village Center. It is as artless, as unaffected a ceremony as can be imagined. There are no speech writers, no advance men measuring the best angles for TV (there is no TV) and by the end of it, I—along with many other allegedly sophisticated urban types, are in tears.
The men whose names have been read indeed gave what Lincoln called “the last, full measure of devotion”—some in wars whose purpose no one could doubt—some in wars whose purpose will never be clear, some for the folly and arro...
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