It is Memorial Day weekend in the U.S.
The holiday originally was called Decoration Day and was a day of remembrance for Union soldiers who died in the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include soldiers who died in any war.
As always, I've hung an American flag outside of Kiko's House.
As always, I will keep the weekend simple. Perhaps we’ll take the dogs for a swim in the creek near our mountain home. Jack is slowly going blind, but we recently bought him a day-glo ball, which he loves to fetch when we throw it in the water. Then we’ll make a big batch of a Tuscan seafood risotto with porcini mushrooms. (What could be more American?)
As always, I will remember that freedom of speech is not protected by journalists like myself but by the men and women who have given their lives to defend American values — the values we cherish, not the ones politicians spout. That flag, you see, hung outside a farmhouse in rural Minnesota for decades as the forebears of the Dear Friend & Conscience went off to defend those freedoms.
As always, I will feel a sadness over loved ones and friends who will not be with us this Memorial Day weekend because of their sacrifices: Nick Tuke, Chuck Callanan, Jim Mullen, Mike Tames and Bob Layton. And Nancy Willing’s brother, Ed, who remains MIA nearly 50 years after he was gobbled up by the jungles of Vietnam.
But besides being sad, I also am angry -- a slow burn, I suppose -- over the mess that we've made of our once great country. Can we do better for those loved ones and friends? Absolutely.