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My letter today is critically aimed at the growing commercialism of Memorial Day. I use the term "chide" to remind the reader that Memorial Day has an altogether different purpose. Established as Decoration Day originally on May 5, 1868, by Gen. John Logan and intended to honor the war dead of both the Union and Confederate armies, it is about reconciliation - something our nation and people can embrace, especially during these challenging times when we are once again engaged in combat arms.

As a young soldier many years ago serving overseas, I remember vividly how important it was to be remembered by family and loved ones back home. It was quietly comforting to know that I mattered and my service mattered.

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We just passed the number 1,000 war dead in Afghanistan. We must remember them and all the others who have perished in defense of our country. Perhaps we can also remember those of each military branch, lonely away from home on this Memorial Day.

Cliff Larsen, Missoula

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