By Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)
The Second World War has never had an equal in terms of
size or scope. It was fought on every continent and every corner of
the globe. Here at home, America called almost 11 million of its young
men and women to military service. Millions more worked in war industries
and served as volunteers.
Many tell me how sad it is that these young men and women never had a chance to grow old. Our nation grieves today over young Americans who have lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and otherplaces of conflict. Already, we find the names of several Idahoans on this list of honor and valor: Stone, Raney, Carl, Shull, and Petty. Many more members of the Idaho National Guard even now are preparing for deployment these places.
It is this kind of dedication that we honor on Memorial Day -- a spirit of sacrifice that has defined our country since its beginning and continues to do so to this very day. However, this year our remembrance will have a special significance and will honor our oldest veterans. On Memorial Day weekend, President Bush, accompanied by his father, the former President, who is himself a decorated World War II veteran, will dedicate the National World War II Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C.
It may surprise some, but during the past sixty years,
our country never built a national memorial to those who fought in World
War II. Every other Allied nation did, but not the United States. Much
of the reason for this can be found in the nature of the men and women
who fought the war. Going straight from the Great Depression into military
service, they had a pragmatic, unassuming outlook and once the war was
over, many just weren't that interested in memorials.