May 27, 2008

Today's Front Pages Analysis

Yesterday’s Memorial Day events memorialized in today’s newspapers

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor the men and women who died while in military service, a day that is, in turn, memorialized by coverage in today's newspapers.

From the nation’s biggest daily — USA Today — to the No. 1 newspaper in the capital — The Washington Post — there is something on Page One of many newspapers to remind us of those who passed this way. The headline at the top of The Anniston Star in Alabama says it all: “Area’s fallen veterans remembered,” even as The Morning News in Rogers, Ark., reports that “Residents honor veterans” and The Sun in San Bernardino, Calif., notes “Memory honored.” For the Aurora (Colo.) Sentinel, the story may be on page seven but there is a big Page One photo of a soldier in a uniform that may pre-date us and the tease “Lest we forget,” while the Republican American in Waterbury, Conn., tops its Page One photo with “Saluting America’s fallen” and Highlands Today in Sebring, Fla., reports with story and photos “Veterans garden dedicated” to honor those who served. The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho also uses a photo and story to note “Veterans’ sacrifices honored,” and the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky has a photo and the headline “Honoring the ultimate sacrifice” to tease three inside stories.

For the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, Maine, it’s “A time to pay tribute,” while The Bemidji (Minn.) Pioneer says it all in one word, “Remembering.” The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo tells us in photos and words about “A stirring salute.” The lead story in the Valley News in West Lebanon, N.H., is about a bridge being named for a local soldier killed last year in Iraq.

A little research shows that the first Memorial Day may have been observed in Charleston S.C, in 1865, but The Post and Courier in that city carries only a brief tease to a couple of Memorial Day pieces inside. Others claim that the official birthplace of the Memorial Day we know is the village of Boalsburg, Pa. There doesn’t seem to be a daily there, but Boalsburg is close to the town of State College and there is a daily there, one where the staff knows its history. Coverage in the Centre Daily Times includes four Page One photos and a story about the 144th Memorial Day observance. The numbers don’t agree with what we read elsewhere, but we’re not about to quibble.

Gene Mater is a Freedom Forum media consultant.

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