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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Memorial Day will always mean more than just the beginning of summer

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Today is Memorial Day, the day we remember and honor those who gave, in Abraham Lincoln’s never-to-be-forgotten words, “the last full measure of devotion” to protect our freedoms. Read on.


• This is a sports column, sure, and I know many of us are looking forward to seeing tonight if Klay Thompson and the Warriors will come all the way back against Oklahoma City. Or if the Thunder can regroup and earn another trip to the finals. But there are some things that transcend sports. The people we honor today, those who gave their lives in the many conflicts our nation has faced, certainly do. It is almost overwhelming to contemplate how much potential in all walks of life was sacrificed on the Normandy beaches and at Pusan and around Khe Sanh. In his waning years, my father would talk of the guys he served with who didn’t come home from the South Pacific. He remembered their goals, their abilities, their devotion. And he would wonder what they would have done if they had come home. The commander he worshiped, a football star who died on my dad’s 18th birthday in 1943. Would he have played in the NFL? My father sure believed so. Or the guys who were on his baseball team on Guam, one of whom he remembered as being killed in a kamikaze attack off Okinawa. He was good enough, my dad would say, to be playing for his beloved Tigers some day. But he never had the chance. His last full measure went elsewhere. So many young lives, so many hopes, so many dreams lost over the years. All, as Lincoln wrote in his 1864 letter to Mrs. Lydia Bixby about her sons’ deaths, “sacrificed on the altar of freedom.” So, as we enjoy what will be a glorious day kicking off a glorious summer, take a few moments to remember those who have gone before us, who offered up their dreams so ours may live.


• WSU: Washington receiver Isaiah Renfro stepped up yesterday and opened up about his battle with depression and anxiety. ... The Pac-12 baseball title was decided yesterday in Salt Lake City and Utah made it a no-doubter, routing Washington 21-7. 

• Gonzaga: There is a really interesting look at Domantas Sabonis’ NBA prospects from Matt Norlander of ... The NCAA baseball sites were chosen yesterday and not a one was west of the Rockies. So if Gonzaga is chosen for an at-large berth, it’s going to involve a lot of travel.

• Chiefs: The junior hockey season is finally over and we have a Memorial Cup champion.

• Mariners: Another day, another loss to the Twins. Notice I didn’t add “lowly” in front of the Twins this time. Mainly because if they are lowly, what does that make the M’s after yesterday’s 5-4 loss and a three-game sweep? ... I can’t figure out the M’s yet, I presume you haven’t and I know John McGrath hasn’t. ... The M’s re-acquired a player they traded away over the winter.

• Sounders: It’s getting old. That’s how the Sounders – and their fans – feel about the losing.


• When summer is over and winter is just down the road, that’s when Veteran’s Day comes around. The day to honor all of those who served is also the anniversary of the end of the First World War, which was raging all over Europe 100 years ago. Until later ...

Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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