Memorial Day 2010

MEMORIAL DAY 2010…. The first last Monday in May is always significant, but in the midst of two wars, one of which claimed its 1,000th American life just last week, Memorial Day takes on a far greater import.

Capturing in words the nation’s gratitude towards those who volunteered to put their lives on the line, and made the ultimate sacrifice, is almost impossible. I found Vice President Biden’s remarks this morning at Arlington National Cemetery, however, to be rather powerful.

It wasn’t included in the clip, but Biden also told the assembled audience of the fallen soldiers, “They lived with integrity. They served nobly. They gave everything. They fought for what they believed in. And maybe most importantly, they believed in something bigger than themselves. They believed in all of you. They believed in all of us. And they believed in America.”

I’m also reminded of something my friend Hilzoy wrote last year at this time: “Every Memorial Day (and not only then), I try to remind myself of what it means that people who serve in the military are willing to fight and die when our civilian leaders ask them to, whether they agree with those leaders or not. That’s a stunning act of faith in American democracy. In return, we owe everyone who serves the effort to be the best citizens we can be, and to elect the people who are most likely to exercise good judgment about whether and when to ask them to risk their lives.”

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.