Dear Reader | Technology challenges; Memorial Day honors

Carolyn Murray, editor for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Carolyn Murray, editor for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

First, a thank you is in order.

If I didn’t hate cliches, I’d be tempted to call last week a technology vortex; or perhaps a perfect storm of technology.

Either way, employees in three departments at The Sun News were wrestling with new systems that we are promised will eventually make things more streamlined. I don’t know (and frankly don’t want to know) anything about the system that our circulation (a.k.a. audience development) team and their colleagues in accounting have adopted. But in the newsroom, the technology-proficient are busy helping the rest of us find the right combination of keys to make our sections look the way they did two weeks ago.

So thanks to all you who have not contacted us to let us know something didn’t appear or look right. And thanks to all who did call. The humans and the computers are still trying to work things out and I can promise you that we will, just about the time we get a new system.

The least we can do

I hope you’ve had a chance to read the profiles of area military veterans we’ve run every Sunday this month. The effort grew out of a brainstorming session with several staff members from around the building to discuss how we can best mark a holiday that impacts all of our lives, whether or not we’ve served or are related to someone who has.

Another element of the building-wide effort will appear on Sunday, a series of patriotic pages honoring area veterans or active-duty personnel. Plus, The Sun News will again display a field of flags in front of our building all Memorial Day weekend honoring those veterans, and residents are invited to come and take pictures with the flags.

We thought this was a good way to mark our support for so many in our area and beyond. But after hearing from a few confused and downright angry readers, appalled that we sought payment for the patriotic page notices, I realized (again) that assuming always gets us in trouble. So I asked another member of the team, assistant to the publisher Peggy Studds, to share details of the fund-raising project.

Here’s what she said:

“The special patriotic pages will feature active duty service personnel, veterans and those who have served and passed on, listing their names, pictures, service affiliation and number of service years. Thanks to advertisers and community members who support these pages, a portion of these proceeds will again be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.

“Memorial Day has become for many of us, the official start of summer’s fun. But the true meaning of Memorial Day should invoke in us a solemn remembrance of the countless brave men and women who fought and died for American freedom.

“Originally called Decoration Day, this commemoration of the nation’s Civil War dead was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans. Its first observance was on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.

“It was not until after World War I that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. Memorial Day became the official name of this solemn commemoration in 1967 by Federal law and was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress in 1971.

“Amid the relaxation and fun that we will enjoy during our three-day Memorial Day weekend, let’s not forget to pause collectively at 3 p.m. on Monday for a National Moment of Remembrance. This national sacred vigilance reminds us of the true cost of our freedom and it’s the very least we can do.”

I couldn’t have said that better myself. So please take time to follow Peggy’s advice, and as always, thanks for reading The Sun News.