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[The Watercooler]

How do we honor the dead who honored us with their lives?

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Sharron Angle introduces Sen. John McCain at a campaign rally for Angle on Oct. 29, 2010.

Memorial Day gives our country pause to reflect on brave men and women who died while in the service of the United States Military. It is supposed to be a solemn time to remember those who fought in our wars and gave the last measure of devotion.

Brian Greenspun

Brian Greenspun

Many Americans use Memorial Day weekend to kick off their summer routines. That is also a way to thank those who gave their lives—by living our own lives.

Arizona’s senior senator, John McCain, is still very much alive. He is trying his best to beat the ravages of a malignant brain tumor—and for that every American should wish him well. Sen. McCain is the embodiment of military service to this country and public service at the highest levels of government.

He deserves the respect and gratitude of every American. But, he doesn’t get it.

The question is why?

Why do we allow ourselves as a country to judge people by our political differences when we should be honoring them? Why do we allow people who don’t have a clue what it is to give their lives for the cause of freedom, to debase our heroes because of political disagreements?

Are we at a seminal moment in our history when teaching our children to respect those who serve us in the military may no longer help define what it is to be a good parent? When did we allow our leaders to take us to that dark place where the service of men like John McCain can be shunted aside in the name of some petty political point?

We need to answer those questions, because it does America harm to hear comments from our own White House that denigrate our heroes and diminish those who have served. We cannot be great again, or ever, when we devalue those who live their lives in service to the rest of us.

Memorial Day is a national day of honor for those who have given their all. This is not a time for those who bring dishonor.

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