Dear Abby: Memorial Day is again upon us. Many of our citizens will enjoy a day off from work. Some will join family and friends at the beach, a picnic, a ball game or perhaps the mall. Sadly, the true meaning of this holiday, designated to remember and honor America's fallen, will be forgotten by many Americans.
We owe these men and women a debt of remembrance. We must make a special effort to honor their legacy on this and every Memorial Day.
This year, the White House Commission on Remembrance is asking Americans to pause on Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time, wherever they may be, and reflect on those who have died for our freedom. To mark this year's observance, I have asked Charles Strouse, the noted composer of "Annie" and "Bye-Bye Birdie," to write a song for the National Moment of Remembrance. The song is titled "On This Day."
Parents and kids can listen to "On This Day" online and download sheet music to learn the song. The National Association for Music Education (MENC) has posted this information on its Web site: www.menc.org.
Abby, I again ask your help in encouraging your readers to join in this act of national unity in remembering our fallen on Monday, May 26. As John F. Kennedy said, "A nation reveals itself not only by the citizens it produces, but also by the citizens it honors, the citizens it remembers."
-- Carmella LaSpada, Director, White House Commission on Remembrance
Dear Carmella: Thank you for your timely letter -- and for the reminder that Memorial Day is only a few days away.
The White House Commission on Remembrance promotes the values of Memorial Day by acts of remembrance throughout the year. Learn more about it by visiting www.remember.gov.
Readers, as the events of the last few months have reminded us all, freedom is not free; in every conflict there is a price paid in human life. I hope that on this Memorial Day, all of you will take a "moment of remembrance" out of your holiday celebration to respect the young people who gave their lives this year in the service to our country, and perhaps join me in offering up a prayer for their grieving families.
Art favored over books
Dear Abby: I am an 11th-grade girl, and I need your advice on what to tell my parents when my report card comes in June. My GPA has dropped big-time since the last one, and they have both been nagging me to study harder.
My mom and dad don't understand what it's like for me at school. Keeping my grades up has become more difficult because I don't have the motivation to immerse myself in the mandatory curriculum. I have no need whatsoever for those boring academic requirements.
The one thing I'm good at is art -- drawing and painting -- and I can do that on my own. Sometimes I wonder why I need high school at all. I'd love to have a break from it. How can I clue my parents in to what I'm all about, Abby?
-- Frustrated Teen in Vermont
Dear Frustrated Teen: I suspect your parents are going to know what you are all about once they see your report card. Every student, at one time or another, has had the same feelings. But the smart ones accept the reality that in order to succeed and be independent, they must, at the very least, have a high school (or equivalent) diploma. The time to get it is now. So buckle down in your senior year and lift your grade point average. Art schools require well-rounded students.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.