Memorial Day Reflections from Left, Right, and Center

Left-leaning, right-leaning, and independent outlets published reflections to commemorate Memorial Day, the day for honoring and mourning the American soldiers who died serving in the US Armed Forces.


Left-leaning, right-leaning, and independent outlets published reflections to commemorate Memorial Day, the day for honoring and mourning the American soldiers who died serving in the US Armed Forces.

  • Retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster paid tribute to “The Soldiers I Remember” for The Free Press: “To help our fellow Americans appreciate such a sacrifice, we who served alongside those heroes should tell the stories of our fallen comrades as we lost them: one by one. Today, I would like to share my memory of Private First Class Joseph Knott, the first trooper killed in action after the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment returned to Iraq for its second combat tour of Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
  • John Amble wrote a reflection for War on the Rocks on how Americans mark Memorial Day. “There are specific memories that, while always there, come back to me each Memorial Day. I remember the moment I heard the news of the first person in my Officer Candidate School platoon that had been killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I remember the “hero flights” that came to our bases to carry fallen servicemembers on the first leg of their journeys home. I remember the bracelets that we wore, each of which carried the name of a friend gone too soon, and how few wrists were unadorned by one as the years of war went on.”
  • No names were added to US Special Operations Command (USASOC) memorial wall for the first time since 9/11, reported Joshua Skovlund for Task and Purpose. “That means, for the first time since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, no one assigned to USASOC has died in combat during the past year. The memorial wall bares 1,242 names of soldiers who have died in combat since USASOC was first established. Of the names on the wall, 377 have been added since the Global War on Terrorism began.”
  • USA Today published in-depth graphics to illustrate the toll of America’s most notable wars: “This weekend honors those who served our country but whom we never could thank with a handshake, applause or a ticker-tape parade − because we never had the chance. They are the people who fought and gave their lives for America and our allies. In most cases, they never knew the outcome of their ultimate sacrifice – whether it was on a beach in Normandy, a Middle Eastern desert, a jungle in Asia, or a field in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.”


reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • NBC News interviewed Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN) about his recent trip to Vietnam to visit the site where his father was killed in a helicopter crash. Phillips was 10 years old when his father was killed in the Vietnam War. “It had become a mission,” Phillips said. “And when I got there, I can remember thinking, ‘This is where he took his last breath.’ And for me, it felt like a place where I could take my first.”
  • “Who should we honor on Memorial Day?” asked Kayla M. Williams in a New York Times op-ed. “In 1866, four women placing spring flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers at Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Miss., noticed that the nearby graves of Union soldiers were barren. They took it upon themselves to decorate those, too. Lately I have been thinking about those women as Memorial Day approaches. Their decision to expand the notion of whom they chose to remember lies at the heart of what Memorial Day should be about.”
  • Petula Dvorak argued in a Washington Post opinion piece that Memorial Day is also for military members who died by suicide. “Kody Decker was 22 and serving in the Navy when he took his life last year. And on Memorial Day, his mother will go to a veterans cemetery to visit him, even though Decker never saw combat. These deaths — which on average eclipsed military fatalities from hostile action and terrorism combined by about 251 to 149 annually over a 40-year period ending in 2021, according to Defense Casualty Analysis System data — aren’t always acknowledged in our nation’s Memorial Day rituals.”



  • Fox News published Jocko Willink’s “note on a white stone cross.” “Hey Brother, Just checking in. Looks like some of the other boys have come by today. Lots of flowers. Did you ever think you’d be getting a bunch of flowers from guys in the platoon? I sure didn’t. But here you go,” Willink wrote. “They’ll look good for a little while anyway. Then they’ll wilt and brown. Then the gravekeeper will take them away. Nothing stays forever.”
  • The New York Post editorial board published the St. Crispin’s Day speech from William Shakespeare’s “Henry V” because “Memorial Day inspires mixed emotions: pride in the valor of those who gave their lives in the cause of freedom; sorrow that such self-sacrifice should have been necessary. Pride in past valor may be best expressed in the St. Crispin’s Day speech.”
  • The editors of National Review asked readers to “follow Lincoln’s example” and honor those who gave “the last full measure of devotion” to their country. “We should remember the young doughboys who stopped the Imperial German Army in its tracks on the Marne and then drove what had been the world’s best army back through the Argonne. We should remember the sailors and pilots who went toe to toe with the so-far invincible Kidō Butai — the Japanese battle fleet and Zeros — over Midway, and through guts and sacrifice turned the tide of the Pacific War. We should remember the First Marine Division at the Chosin Reservoir, cut off, outnumbered, and surrounded, in subzero temperatures, fighting its way back through the attacking Red Chinese to friendly lines. We should remember the Air Force bomber crews braving clouds of flak and swarms of MiGs over Hanoi. And we should remember the men and women who fought and bled and died in the hot, dusty streets of Fallujah and the cruel mountains of Kunar.”


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© Dominic Moore, 2023