Fallen Troops Tribute

Call it America’s only true “reality show.”

ABC’s “Nightline” is to be saluted – again — for converting its Memorial Day program – for the second consecutive year — into a homage to U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a result, the names and photos of the fallen – now totaling more than 1,600 – have been nationally memorialized by a country and a culture otherwise caught up in sacrifice-less life as usual.

Then there’s the “Doonesbury” In Memoriam comic strip. Call it well intentioned.

For the second year running, cartoonist-polemicist Gary Trudeau has used a Memorial weekend comic strip to run nothing but the names of those who have died during “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” Trudeau is also to be commended – with one significant qualifier.

In general, “Doonesbury” belongs on the editorial – not the comics’ page. This is especially – and acutely — so with the In Memoriam strip.

“Doonesbury” is an editorial decision that individual newspapers have to make. Most make the wrong call and leave Trudeau satirically op-eding among the Garfields and Phantoms. It’s inappropriate, nothing more.

But a sincere and somber salute to fallen American G.I.’s deserves better than the light-hearted context of “Marmaduke,” “Mother Goose and Grimm,” “Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe,” “The Family Circus” and “Hi & Lois.”

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