Why Memorial Day

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:00

    HARRIMAN-There will be a lot of competition this holiday weekend for people's attention. There will be sales at the stores. The Red Sox are in New York to play the suddenly hot Yankees. And the weather - who knows whether it will finally turn Spring-like so that people will be tempted to rent a paddle boat or kayak on Round Lake in Monroe. But there also will be a lot of people this Sunday and Monday who will gather at cemeteries or village squares to remember those who died to make all these things possible. And are stilling dying. In Harriman, which will mark the observance of Memorial Day on Monday, they remember the dead as well as the missing in action. The first time an MIA banner ever flew in this country happened in Harriman in 1974. It happened because of the efforts of Thomas Busching, who was the commander at the time of the Mulligan-Egan American Legion Post No. 1573. Thirty years ago, the Vietnam War was still on, a war that divided the country and whose tendrils extended even into last year's Presidential election. But in 1973, Busching and members of the American Legion wanted little to do with politics. They wanted to keep idea that 1,500 American servicemen, in the duty of their country, were unaccounted for - or missing in action. "The Congress and President have found it more pressing to involve themselves in the internal affairs of other nations while our pleas for action pass unresolve, with their interest now being the question of amnesty for the evader and the deserter," Busching wrote in a resolution at the banner's dedication." Busching is retired now in Atlanta, but the words from the resolution recognizing the importance of MIAs holds true today: Even "should this banner be left to fly so long that it becomes tattered and frayed ... we shall not forget these 1,500 men and their families." A list of Memorial Day activities appear on page 2.