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Doug's Diggings: Memorial Day was special; technology?

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opinion River Falls, 54022
Hudson Star Observer
715-386-9891 customer support
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

When I was growing up, Memorial Day was always a special day in our household. My dad was a veteran of World War II, having served in Europe. We also had fun on Memorial Day - as a kid, it was an especially glorious day because it generally marked the end of the school year.

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But Dad always reminded us why the holiday existed. It was not so we could have a long weekend or so that we could just go fishing - Memorial Day was a day to acknowledge the sacrifices of military personnel who died so that the United States could be a true land of opportunity - so as kids, we could go fishing when we wanted to.

Interestingly enough, my dad never talked to me much about what he did in World War II. Apparently I wasn't wise enough to ask him the right questions, and most of his World War II stories went with him to the grave when he died in 1986 - now more than 23 years ago.

Of course, it could be that he didn't want to talk about the war - maybe he didn't want to burden us with war stories; maybe it was a time of his life he wanted to forget; maybe the opportunity was just never quite right.

I do possess a few artifacts -- the most striking is a series of photos from German concentration camps after the Allies came in to free the few remaining survivors. There are several graphic photos that would make strong evidence to dispute the claims by some that the Holocaust never happened.

I remember asking my dad once how he obtained the photos. He claimed he had gotten them from other military people who were involved in the cleanup.

I may never hear the entire story, but I do know that my dad and many other veterans have seen and experienced some terrible and tragic things in their lives. Even if they have not been involved in combat, they have still experienced the stress and anxiety that goes with involvement in a life-or-death organization.

Monday is a good time to thank your relatives or friends who may have served in the military. Memorial Day is considered a day to honor the war dead, but it's a great time to recognize and honor the living!

_________

Technology is a great thing, but as I get older I sometimes am puzzled by some of the new equipment that hits the stores.

The item that has puzzled me most the past few years is text messaging.

When I first heard about it I assumed it was a way to communicate with someone at a lower cost than talking on a cell phone. When I purchased a new cell phone a couple of years ago, however, I soon discovered that it cost "more" to become an active text messenger! So here's the question - does it make more sense to pick up the cell phone and call the person with whom you want to communicate, or does it make more sense to type your conversation onto a tiny key pad and send text messages?

To me, of course, it's a no-brainer - pick up the phone and talk to the person. But, obviously my ideas are not the widely accepted point of view. To me, of course, it appears to be a step backwards. You have the ability to talk to your friends, why go through the labor-intensive procedure of "texting?"

If we used that same logic in the newspaper business, we'd get rid of all our computers and go back to using manual typewriters and taking pictures with film! It makes no sense!

That said, text messaging is very popular, and my own adult children do it regularly.

I've decided, however, that the electronics industry has some of the best corporate minds in America. Every few years the electronic industry re-events itself. For instance, when I was young, everyone purchased LP albums to listen to music. Then it evolved to eight track tapes, then cassette tapes, then compact disks, then MP3 players -- on and on it goes. Every few years the public has to buy the new equipment to support the latest and greatest technology.

It took a while, but the same thing is now happening with our televisions; it happens with cell phones, cameras, computers, etc. There's always a new and improved model just around the corner! The industry has some of the best marketing geniuses!

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