Opinion – 5/26/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 26, 2006

The Panolian: OPINIONS

 From the 5/26/06 issue of The Panolian :                 
Waiting list grows for memorial space

In our Memorial Day issue last year – May 27, 2005 – we had just learned of the death in the Iraq War of Daron Lunsford. We speculated about the memorial monument on the Downtown Square, about whether there would be room for more names at the bottom of the stone under the list of Vietnam War dead. We expressed our hope that there would be no more need for name space on the monument.

That hope would not be realized.

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In December came news of Brandon Presley’s death, and for yet another generation – today’s 20-somethings – war’s toll became increasingly tied to a personal face, someone they had known, grown up with and whose family they embraced to console as best they could.

Formerly for this generation, war’s toll was associated with older names etched in that monument or a still picture or newspaper clipping from a family album. On Monday at noon, when the family, schoolmates and friends of Daron and Brandon join the Memorial Day observance organized by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4968 and its Ladies Auxiliary, they will review their mental albums of living memories from when they were still so alive and vibrant among us. They will join veterans of this new war and survivors and friends of soldiers of those other generations who will be going over the same kinds of memories – recalling the last time they saw him or something funny he did and always, how much we still miss him no matter how recent or how long ago it was.

Against this backdrop of recent and distant memories, someone will speak the appropriate words and proper protocol will be observed.

And we will steal glances at the base of the monument and wonder among ourselves about the little bit of blank stone left at the bottom and about whether there is enough room there for the name of this new war and the names of Daron Lunsford and Brandon Presley.

Most of all, we will wonder if more names will be on the waiting list by this time next Memorial Day.



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