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Memorializing Those We've Lost


Many of us int he United States of America celebrate today for having a day off from work. We plan vacations, weddings, family visits, and peaceful relaxation. We catch up on reading, DVR, or maybe some household projects that need a little extra attention. Children gear up for pool openings. School staff and faculties prepare for summer vacation. Retail promotes their half-off extravaganzas, and patrons fill parks and city squares for festivals, concerts, and community activities.

I see American flags, Facebook posts, and patriotic messages throughout the weekend, but I wonder how much we truly understand about today, and the deeper message behind it. We honor those who sacrificed their lives for a "greater cause" while serving this country in war, conflict, and peace making campaigns. The men and women who have made this sacrifice worked today. They likely worked every holiday. the men and women who continue to serve follow suit, as those who came and left before them.

As a country, we must be unified, at least on some level, and not just during times of duress or attack on our own soil. We owe homage to our service men and women, both living and beyond. We also owe it to ourselves, military, their families, and the world to take a deeper look at the source of these sacrifices. War is horrible!It is not glorious. It is not a game where a macho soldier can respawn. It is not a one-sided, right or wrong agenda. There are real people, fighting with real weapons, really hurting and killing each other for real causes both sides believe in. Sometimes that cause is a national agenda. Other times, that cause may be moral or religious based. What I hear most, however, from the mend and women with boots on the ground is that they are fighting for each other. Whatever got them there takes second place to those right ther with them.

This perspective may be difficult to hear, for some, and may evoke disagreement. That's okay; it's what we've grown to expect, because of our rights. Perhaps an entitlement. Yes, "entitlement." The argument is true - many people have died for this right. Though, I didn't. Many of you reading this post didn't. In fact, most of the people in our country who benefit from this right didn't. I pose the suggestion that it has become an entitlement to many (not all) when we so willingly send others to fight wars for which we tell ourselves are for liberties and freedoms, but do not take the time to actually explore the causes, impacts, and nature. Many citizens have no idea how, for what, or even where some of these men and women are fighting.

This topic is very controversial, and I accept that we all come with biases for our respective beliefs and opinions. Again, what a wonderful place in which we live when this right is openly utilized.