Posted on May 24 2015
Memorial Day doesn't come around once a year. That only applies to the holiday, the long weekend, the traditional start of the summer vacation season.
Memorial Day, the real Memorial Day, happens often. Too often, really.
We have two Memorial Days already this month in Arizona.
The first happened May 6 when Marine Lance Cpl. Jacob "Jake" Hug, 22, died in the crash of UH-1 "Huey" helicopter in the mountains northeast of Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, where he was part of an operation delivering food and other supplies to earthquake victims.
His parents were hoping there might have been survivors in the accident.
"We had been praying like crazy since Friday when they found the helicopter," said Hug's father, Jim. "We were holding out hope."
But it wasn't to be.
This week Memorial Day happened again, when Lance Cpl. Matthew Determan, 21, was killed in the crash of a hybrid military aircraft in Hawaii during a training exercise.
His commanding officer said, "Lance Corporal Determan represents the best America has to offer. Our country and our Corps are poorer for his loss, but his example will continue to inspire us."
I'm sure his example will inspire other Marines.
I wonder about the rest of us.
The long wars of the past decade have hardened us to military losses. We in the media report them, sometimes with lots of coverage. Other times, not so much. Still, we cover them.
But the reports of such tragic losses – more than any family should have to bear -- don't draw the kind of reader interest or attention that comes from celebrity gossip, wacky YouTube videos or silly "scandals" like Deflategate.
It's who we are, I suppose.
But at least we should get the record straight.
There is no single Memorial Day.
We've had two this month already in Arizona.
Two Marines from Arizona, full of promise and idealism, were lost. One in training. One on a humanitarian mission.
Essentially, they died waging peace.
In part, so that the rest of us can enjoy the long weekend that's coming up.