Memorial Day in the 21st Century

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photoToday, America celebrates Memorial Day. There's always been a Norman Rockwell-like small town feel about it--parades, speeches, flags, backyard barbecues. This year, the big scary world has crashed in on Main Street. U.S. troops are still in Iraq, and there have been casualties. In recent weeks, terrorists have struck targets around the world. America is now on code orange alert. A day of respectful remembrance is now tinged with fear of what may still be to come. And with it, hard questions about America's role as a world power, about patriotism, and about duty.

In this special Memorial Day edition of "On Point," we will hear from Americans who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and from others: a chaplain, a soldier's mother, a veteran of the first Gulf War. They will speak about a world after Iraq and the meaning of Memorial Day in the volatile 21st century.


Major John Brownfield, fought with the Connecticut National Air Guard Major 103 Fighter Wing in western Iraq

Joel Turnipseed, former Marine and veteran of the first Gulf War and author of "Baghdad Express: A Gulf War Memoir

" Sergeant First Class Louis Diaz , just returned from Iraq with the Artillery Brigade's Mobilization Exploitation Team

Brian Murphy, Desert Storm veteran,
worked for the 124th Intelligence Battalion as an Arab language specialist and as direct support for the 24th infantry division in Iraq

Wendy Petit, son is with the Army 101st Airborne Division and she is the founder of

Fred Hudson, senior chaplain Fort Bliss

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst, senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly magazine

This program aired on May 26, 2003.


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