FROM Nadia McCaffrey
Origins of Memorial Day; Honoring Our Fallen Soldiers Memorial Day began after the Civil War, which killed 600,000 Americans, North and South. But the first day of remembrance wasn't really about them. It was started by southern women, mourning what they called the Lost Cause: the Confederacy. When the northern states got into the act, it was all about commemorating the soldiers who died for the Union. We bring the history up to the present holiday—which is also about barbeques, three-day weekends and the beginning of summer. Does America do a good job of remembering war dead? What about grieving families and living veterans?
Iraq and PTSD Pentagon policy calls for equal time on and off duty, but troops in Iraq spend 15 months in combat with just 12 months on leave. If President Bush decides to maintain the current build-up, tours may be extended. A military report says the constant threat of death and exposure to atrocities leads to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Mental health issues may be more severe than they were during Vietnam or World War II. Senior commanders, veterans and their doctors agree that civilians don't understand the mental health consequences of combat and its aftermath. We hear about flashbacks, panic attacks, fearful wives and frightened children. Are Marines and soldiers getting the help they need when they have to return to combat or when they finally come home to adjust to civilian life?
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.