Memorial Day takes me back and helps put my personal and professional priorities where they properly belong. The name Michael Eugene Hoppers invariably appears front and center in my thoughts, but he represents many.
This weekend the United States celebrates Memorial Day. Sadly, for many Americans the holiday mostly marks the beginning of summer rather than a time to remember those who gave their lives in service to their country.
As we once again observe Memorial Day we remember and honor the more than one million American men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all our wars, including more than 6,800 from our two most recent wars -- and counting.
Every Memorial Day, I take out a scrapbook my grandmother made over 40 years ago. Each page is filled with photographs of young men I've never met. Under every face is the exhortation: WHERE IS HE? My uncle's face is on page three.
If ever there was a war defined and illuminated by photography, it was the war in Vietnam. And if ever there was a photographer who left his imprint on the unforgettable images of Vietnam, it was Horst Faas.
It would be a colossal bit of hubris to suggest that Robert Caro needs any help from me in researching Lyndon Johnson's presidency from 1964-68, but I have two good stories about that period, and I'd like to get them on Huffington before the book comes out.
So in a few weeks when Memorial Day again rolls around, I'll raise a glass to my pen pal and say the words, "Semper Fi." And I'll be silently thanking the VVMF for its ongoing campaign to find and post photos of all who died in that conflict.
Kent State is America's Tiananmen Square. The photo of a young girl kneeling over the body of a dead student is etched on our collective retinas. But all these years later, it is still hard to comprehend. There is no resolution of this tragedy.
When I faced a crisis of conscience, to tell what I knew because it needed to be told, coming to realize I was risking at the least my job if not jail, I remembered the Pentagon Papers from 1971 you risked the same and more to release.
What will today's veterans say about their multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan? How will they explain to their children and grandchildren, if they are able, why they or their friends sustained their grievous physical or mental injuries?
Common sense solutions like these, while painfully obvious, are entirely inadmissible within mainstream political dialogue. Why is that? Why can't common sense be applied to our defense expenditures, which now are almost equal to the rest of the world combined?