May 26th, 2008
09:18 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 5/26/08

Happy Memorial Day!

Bill Clinton was defending his wife this weekend saying Sen. Clinton has been handled disrespectfully and that "they are trying to push and pressure and bully" superdelegates. Who exactly is he talking about? And what impact will his remarks have on the campaign? We'll have analysis of that and the backlash from Hillary Clinton's RFK assassination comments and the fight between John McCain and Barack Obama over the G.I. bill.

Severe storms swept across the midwest this weekend spawning deadly tornadoes across several states. One killed six people in Iowa. Another, in Minnesota, claimed the life of a 2-year-old child.
We'll take you as close as possible to the sheer power of a tornado. We'll show you footage taken on Saturday in Oklahoma from a helicopter. It is some of the most dramatic images you will ever see of a tornado's strength.

According to the Army, as many as 121 active-duty soldiers committed suicide last year, an increase of 20 percent over 2006. It's an alarming trend that has many wondering what's being done to prevent more deaths. Randi Kaye is keeping them honest.

Don't' forget about our live web camera from the 360° studio. The shot features Anderson and Erica behind the scenes on the set. We'll turn the camera on at 945p ET and turn it off at 11p ET.

We'll start posting comments to this blog at 10p ET and stop at 11p ET.

Filed under: Live Blog
May 26th, 2008
06:31 PM ET

Erica News Note

I was checking the headlines on my husband’s BlackBerry yesterday on our way back into the City. We wanted to know who won the Indy 500, but before I could get to the news on Scott Dixon, I had to click on this headline: Boeing 747 splits in two on runway


How could this happen? Four of the five crew members on board were injured, but incredibly, the plane didn’t catch fire. It’s a little eerie, all the same.


In Iraq, a frightening discovery: teenagers forced to train with insurgents, learning to attack Iraqi security forces. News that is especially disheartening on Memorial Day. When I saw the headline, I immediately thought of the children forced to fight against their will in so many conflicts in Africa…some as young as seven or eight. I wish I knew what made people so sick that they believed training children to kill was a good idea.

I know I mentioned the iReport Memorial Day gallery on Friday – in case you missed it, here’s the link again. I also wanted to let you know about some new resources on CNN’s Impact Your World page, allowing you to reach out to US veterans and their families.

Filed under: Erica Hill
May 26th, 2008
03:45 PM ET

Remembering those lost to war - the civilians, too

Tom Foreman
360° Correspondent

Coming from a military family, I have always had a special place in my heart for Memorial Day. Taking time each year to remember people, throughout our nation’s history, who have fought and died defending the principles upon which our country was founded, is simply the right thing to do.

Even when we have been involved in wars that many Americans do not support, or wars that seem confusing, pointless, or lost, it has always seemed to me that we still should honor those who fight in our name. But it is also important to remember, that not only our troops die in war.

Filed under: Memorial Day
May 26th, 2008
02:28 PM ET

Deferring Memorial Day; It's too soon to fight those memories

Arwa Damon
CNN Baghdad

“And thinking about Memorial Day, one main factor comes to mind – 5 years, 4000 American dead, trillions of dollars, we have increased psychological issues with veterans, not to mention family problems, children with no parents, parents with no children.” A young medic said sarcastically plopping himself down on the couch.

He admits to being bitter and jaded. Nine of his close friends died in the last year, seven of them fathers. It’s impossible for him to see what for. He turns his pain, anger, frustration, and sense of helplessness into humor.

Its 12:53 in the morning. He’s about to head out the door on his fifth patrol in the last 18 hours. The men here are fighting physical and emotional exhaustion, drawing strength from each other and little else.


Filed under: Memorial Day
May 26th, 2008
01:06 PM ET

I lost my love in Baghdad

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/26/vert.book.baghdad.jpg caption="Michael Hastings is the author of 'I Lost My Love in Baghdad.'" width=292 height=320]

Michael Hastings
Author, "I Lost My Love in Baghdad"

How do you live after tragedy? I'd never really considered the question myself until the months following January 17, 2007. On that day, the woman I loved more than I could ever capture in words was killed in Baghdad. Her name was Andi Parhamovich; she was an American civilian working in Iraq for an NGO that was trying to help the people of Iraq set-up a working democracy. She was 28, beautiful, spiritual, brilliant, born and raised in Ohio. Her killers, insurgents who claimed links to Al-Qaeda, have never been brought to justice.

I couldn't believe it happened(I say "it"—I don't even like writing the words to describe the incident, another word I don't like, which may seem odd considering I spent most of the last year writing about "it")—even though I was there covering the war myself as a correspondent for Newsweek. To this day, I can't believe what happened, really. We had planned to spend our lives together; we loved each other, love each other, and suddenly she's gone.


Filed under: Memorial Day
May 26th, 2008
01:00 PM ET

Observing Memorial Day- in the middle of a Baghdad ER

Editor's Note: CNN's Jill Dougherty spoke with Major Stephen Roberts, officer at the medical unit at Camp Liberty, Iraq (near Baghdad). Jill met him while filming a story on the soldiers who shaved their heads to raise money for children with cancer back home (watch). She shares her latest conversation with Major Roberts about Memorial Day here:

Jill Dougherty
U.S. Affairs Correspondent

At 3pm, Baghad time, the doctors, nurses and medics at Camp Liberty's medical clinic near Baghdad will pause, along with their fellow soldiers and U.S. citizens around the world, for a National Moment of Remembrance. But it comes right in the middle of sick call hours. With sick and wounded soldiers waiting for help, there's not a lot of time to spend in remembrance.

So Major Steven Roberts, MD, will call the clinic to attention, say a few words about the importance of Memorial Day. His staff will observe a moment of silence in honor of their fallen comrades - and then, back to work!

In his other life back in Washington, DC, Major Roberts is Attending Physician, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, providing treatment for children with cancer. Even at their young ages, they're in the fight for their lives and, here, his patients often are too.


Filed under: Memorial Day
May 26th, 2008
12:00 PM ET

Feedback from the Frontlines: 'When Memorial Day became significant'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/25/vert.keith.heidtman.jpg caption="1LT Keith Heidtman" width=292 height=320]

1LT Rose MacHarg
566 Medical Company (AS) Executive Officer
Serving in Iraq at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad

Memorial Day was never too significant to me until my unit began its train-up to go to Iraq. Sure, I had family members who had fought in past conflicts and had taken my share of history courses in school. Even though I had completed 4 years of Army ROTC and 2 years of active duty, I never quite grasped the significance of it until the days after Memorial Day of 2007.

It was May 30 2007 and I was running weekend errands. On a whim, I stopped to get a quick haircut. As I was waiting, I happened to glance at the TV and CNN was on. I watched the featured story for a few minutes, lost interest and started to look away. All of a sudden the screen segued to faces of Soldiers with a caption of “Fallen Soldiers.”

The first face was a shock to me.


May 26th, 2008
11:44 AM ET

Beat 360 5/26/08

Hey Bloggers!

Crack open a cold one, its time for 'Beat 360°"

Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption. Our staff will get in on the action too.

Tune in every night at 10p ET to see if you are our favorite! Can you Beat 360°?

Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic of the day: Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, hoists a "Presidente" beer at Sabor Latino Restaurant & Bar in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Beat 360°

Here's one or two to get you started:

Vowing her ‘spirits’ are high, Hillary reminds us how badly she wants to ‘Cerveza’ as our Commander in Chief.

Hillary Clinton looking ahead at what’s up ‘on tap’: The Puerto Rico primary

Have fun with it.

Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

UPDATE: Check out our Beat 360° winners!

Filed under: Beat 360°
May 26th, 2008
11:10 AM ET

Feedback from the Frontlines: "The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten"

David M. Reisner
360 Digital Producer


Happy Memorial Day.

More than 500,000 U.S. troops are currently assigned and deployed overseas this Memorial Day…

Over the weekend I reached out to a few soldiers stationed around the world asking them what it's like for troops spending Memorial Day away from home and what this national Holiday now means to them. Here is one such response:

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/24/art.cpt.paul.a..brown.jpg caption="CPT Paul A Brown HHC: This is when I flew to Camp Taji for a conference on supporting Multi-National Division-Baghdad and how the focus might change if/when the Surge Brigades begin to leave"]

CPT Paul A. Brown HHC
168th Brigade Support Battalion
(Camp Liberty, Iraq)

I am the Adjutant (Personnel Officer) for the 168th Brigade Support Battalion which has three primary missions in support of Multi-National Division-Baghdad and Multi-National Division-Central. The "Make It Happen" (our motto) battalion provides supply, maintenance and distribution support to more than 80,000 Soldiers.

I manage all personnel, financial, discipline, awards, and public affairs for over 1,000 Soldiers in the battalion..

I miss everyone immensely and I cannot wait to be home. Erin, I love you and miss you the most. Not a second goes by that I stop missing you. I love you Sweetie and will be home soon.

Q. What is lit ike for the troops spending Memorial day away from home?
A. Since being in Iraq, I don't see any difference in the days. Maybe a change in menu at the Dining Facilities, but other than that, it is just another day. Don't get me wrong, I miss my family, but you just block it out and focus on the mission. That is a way I deal with being away from my wife Erin. I look at each day as the same as the last. It is a 15 month "Groundhog Day" where the only break is 18 days of leave and an occasional change in mission, but even that becomes a routine after a while.

Q. What events/services do the military provide on Memorial Day?
A. I will be doing a "Combat Patch Ceremony" for two units that have recently deployed. This ceremony will officially mark new Soldiers as Veterans of Combat, a visual representation of what they have done and what they are doing.

Q. What do you miss about Memorial Day back home?

Filed under: Memorial Day
May 26th, 2008
10:36 AM ET

Tunes 4 the Troops

CNN Heroes

Bloggers, wanted to share this story with you: CNN Hero Kaylee Marie Radzyminski sends CDs and DVDs by the thousands to U.S. troops. The #1 thing troops miss is family... The #2 thing? Entertainment... Hear her thoughts on how her one-person mission has become a national effort.

Remembering our troops... and
how you can help...

Filed under: Memorial Day
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