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A Tweet To Remind, In Case You Forgot What Memorial Day Was Really About

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From Merriam-Webster:
memorialize: commemorate
commemorate: to call to remembrance
Twitter: to utter successive chirping noises

Well, at least they're up to date on the first two.

It's Memorial Day, and here in New York City it's a gorgeous one, sunny and bright and meant to be spent with friends. Later on this afternoon I've been invited to a picnic in Central Park and a pool party on a hotel roof deck (er, I'm not sure the hotel knows this so mum's the word, okay?). Around the country similar activities are planned: Backyard barbecues, picnics, family hikes, block parties, kids running through sprinklers, keeping ants out of the potato salad, kicking sand up along the beach, adjusting bikini straps, watching Susan Boyle on YouTube. All that and more is what Memorial Day means - but it means something else, too.

It means remembering those who serve - who step up so that Memorial Day can remain just that carefree. Sometimes that gets lost amid the outdoor barbecues and blowout sales — but on Twitter, that message is front and center thanks to TweetToRemind.

TweetToRemind is a Twitter campaign launched by Bob & Lee Woodruff to raise money for wounded returning soldiers through the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which helps injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Bob Woodruff, you probably recall, was severely injured while reporting from Iraq for ABC, and sustained near-fatal damage from an IED explosion. Part of his skull was blown off and he was in a coma for five weeks. This type of injury is not, alas, uncommon. Nor are missing limbs, severely disfiguring burns, and PTSD.

The good news is, they didn't die in Iraq or Afghanistan. The bad news is, they now have to deal with life-changing injuries and the long uphill battle towards whatever "normal" can eventually mean. This goes double for their families, who become their caregivers and support systems. In James Gandolfini's amazing and riveting documentary Alive Day Memories, about returning vets with grievous injuries, one amputee called it being "dumped back into the world." The point of Tweet To Remind and the Bob Woodruff Foundation is to be ready to help when they get there.

Here's the goal:

In honor of Memorial Day (5/25) this year, please consider a donation of $5.25 or more and support our courageous troops. With your help, we hope to raise 1.65 million dollars, a goal which symbolizes 1 dollar for every soldier who has served since 9/11.

So far they've raised $37,506.62, but the larger TweetToRemind campaign goes until July 4th, so there's still time to meet that goal.

Bob and Lee Woodruff have been just tireless in promoting their cause, and this latest iteration reflects a super-savvy harnessing of new media (why super-savvy? Because the new media has, in turn, been tireless in promoting their cause: The "TweetToRemind" hashtag has been popping for days with retweets that show people putting their money where their mouse is) ("Support our troops is no longer a slogan. It's an action").

They've also been super-savvy in working that other media — the MSM — to promote it and the cause, as well as rallying their highly-placed friends to support their annual star (and Springsteen)-studded "Stand Up For Heroes" fundraiser. By the way, I recognized two of the men featured on the TweetToRemind website as veterans honored at "Stand Up For Heroes" — I remember seeing them taking pics with celebrities beforehand, and being struck by the kind of damage they had sustained and how that was just a drop in the bucket. In 2007, Conan O'Brien hosted the event, and they showed an incredibly moving video of him visiting Walter Reed (alas, I can't find it online). That sort of thing sticks with you. So did the memory of those soldiers.

We've come a long way from bikinis and barbecuse, haven't we? But they all have their place on Memorial Day, and rightly so: They're the simple freedoms that the troops are fighting for in the first place. Holiday weekends just wouldn't be the same without the essential freedoms which make it all possible — which the injured soldiers supported by Remind.org make possible. So - $5.25 seems a reasonable price to pay.

That's all. Have a great Memorial Day weekend — just remember what you're Memorializing, and why.

Related:
Donate: Tweet To Remind [Tweet To Remind]
Bob Woodruff: Waging the Battle at Home [HuffPo]
Lee Woodruff: Caring for the Caregiver this Memorial Day [HuffPo]

Also Related:
Alive Day Memories From Iraq: A Focus On The Walking (And Wheeling, And Crutching) Wounded [ETP]
Jonathan Bartlett: Perspective [HuffPo]

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