As the extended Memorial Day Weekend begins, we'd all do well to remember exactly why it exists. It's not about barbecues, movie marathons on cable TV or celebrating the beginning of summer. There's certainly nothing wrong this weekend with barbecues, enjoying movies or taking in the May's sun and warmth. But those activities are just benefits of family gatherings and businesses closing this weekend. The reason we're closing shop and have the opportunity to travel this weekend is because it's been set aside to remember those who've given their lives for this country.

In America, quite a number of men and women in uniform have lost their lives since colonial days. More than 650,000 have died in battle and more than 88,000 remain missing. Without those sacrifices, we would not be the great nation we are today, full of liberty, economic opportunity and secure from violence.

In Crescent City, this year's Memorial Day will be a little more special than usual. Most notably, the refurbished S.S. Emidio Memorial will be rededicated Monday in Beachfront Park. A Japanese sub torpedoed the oil tanker off our coast in 1941. Meanwhile, those with family buried in the cemeteries on Cooper Avenue will find the grounds renovated with brush removed and deteriorated gravestones replaced with redwood markers. Other county residents will participate in what almost certainly will be a moving experience - Rolling Thunder, in which motorcyclists ride across the country to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C.

We encourage local residents to attend the Emidio unveiling or any of the other remembrances planned at local cemeteries this weekend. They all are brief ceremonies, but each honors men and women for decades of sacrifice.

We also salute those who refurbished the Emidio memorial, renovated the cemeteries and rode to D.C. Their efforts will help ensure future generations do not forget to remember those who sacrificed themselves for our benefit. And ensuring that future generations do not forget may be the greatest honor that any of us can pay to those who gave their lives.


The Memorial Day weekend begins this afternoon.


Take time this weekend

and on Monday to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure we have freedom, opportunity and security today.


What projects could be launched in the weeks ahead to honor our nation's fallen during next year's Memorial Day? Send a letter via e-mail to: