Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Pause to Reflect on Those Who Died to Keep Us Free

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, which was 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:

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

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 of our country, and perhaps join me in offering up a prayer for their grieving families.