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Observing Memorial Day

Like many Americans, we plan to take Memorial Day off. And while a three-day weekend is always fun, this holiday is a somber one.

We were reminded of that reading an Op-Ed from Tom Manion in today's Wall Street Journal. Manion served in the military for 30 years and his son, Travis Manion, was killed in Iraq when he was just 26-years-old.

Manion delivers an emotional piece that attempts to answer a complex question: Why do they serve?

His son had an easy answer, telling him that "If not me, then who?"

But the sacrifices are enormous and many times tragic. Yet even after a decade of war, Americans still volunteer to serve. That, writes Manion, is the "essence of our country."

We encourage you to click over and read the full piece.

We'll leave you with a stunning photograph taken in Boston today, where 33,000 American flags were planted to represent the Massachusetts soldiers killed since the civil war:

We'll be back Tuesday, unless breaking news warrants an early return. Meanwhile, you may see posts from our weekend crew.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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