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The politics of Memorial Day, and a special project

Technically, Memorial Day is not a political holiday. It actually began at the grass-roots level by post-Civil War moms who began marking the shallow graves of the fallen on both sides.

But the weekend set-to over veterans benefits between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, and the ongoing Iraq war and stark differences between parties over that issue indicate the military will be front and center in the national debate this political seRyan J. Clark of Lancasterason. President Bush added his comments at an Arlington National Cemetery service today too.

With a hat tip to Politico's Mike Allen, we also note the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is warning the military's entire officer corps to stay out of politics this year, as always.

But the main point of this item is to call to everyone's attention the compelling Memorial Day special project elsewhere on this site. A special team has been working long hours for weeks to assemble this interactive collection of all 492 of California's war dead from Iraq and Afghanistan, searchable by hometown, high school, age, etc...

There's a specially produced video. And the familiar comment board for readers to share their thoughts and messages.

Even if you're not from California -- and despite the appearance of traffic there, most Americans aren't -- you'll find the individual stories and lives revealing and compelling. The Ticket recommends it highly.

--Andrew Malcolm

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Obama is barely hanging on in battleground states and is likely to lose in debates. Meanwhile, Republicans have a goldmine of Jeremiah Wright tapes complete with he and Obama grinning out at America. These will be the October warm-up for McCain's October suprise....


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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