Last week I attended a conference in Washington DC. At 3:30 each afternoon, my traveling companion and I took the RoundAbout bus to view historic memorials. Truth be known, I had never really wanted to visit Washington DC. I am not political. In fact, I tend to view it as formalized game playing! And, I generally avoid war related museums. Once I stayed right next to the Alamo and refused to actually go see the inside of it. The reason I give is that it just seems to me that there has to be a better way for people to solve problems then to shoot at each other! I struggled to know why so many towns have military canons displayed prominently in parks with such pride.
And then I visited the war memorials in Washington DC! Miles and miles we walked, passing display after display that tried to symbolize the number of people who died...for me!
My brother Dave believed that you fight for what you believe in. He was not a war monger. In fact, he couldn't kill anything. Even during the time honored deer hunting season, Dave took his camera instead of a gun. And yet, Dave served in Viet Nam and Desert Storm because he believed that he owed his country something because his country had given him so much. He served to protect that freedom for his own kids. So here I am in Washington DC passing someone else's brother, dad, mother, son, daughter and thinking that every one of them believed that the battle was worth it even if it cost them their life! And, I am ashamed as I sit in my nice house and have the many conveniences of our life but for 59 years snubbed my nose at those memorials. What have I done to preserve our freedoms? What have I done to make a better life for people who follow me?
The war canon that sits in the downtown park now symbolizes something more to me. It symbolizes being willing to fight for what you believe in. It symbolizes pride in fighting for the right to be free!
This November 11th, I will honor the veterans in a very different way! I will honor them with a deeper sense of duty. They died for me! I owe them that!