Different people celebrate Memorial Day in different ways. Some take part in remembrances of fallen soldiers. Some go camping. Some have barbecues. The Viertel’s were largely at home today, nursing our colds. I had to go in to work in the morning, but was home by lunch time. After naps, I took the kids to the park and let them fight off some of the effects of the cabin fever that they’re exhibiting.
I don’t have a military background. My father did serve during World War II, but he was never deployed. Both my parents opposed Vietnam and I have grown up with a healthy skepticism of American military adventures. We feared the Reagan administration far more than the Soviet Union. We opposed the Gulf War. I had a more nuanced view of our involvement in Bosnia and Kosovo. In 2003, I stood on a corner in Pasadena with my father protesting the Iraq war.
I say all this today because I’m not one who is naturally going to go to a local Memorial Day event. I’m far more likely to go to a barbecue. But it’s not out of any disrespect for those who have given their lives in service to our nation. Whether I agree with the policy underlying a given military action, it is critical to remember that said action is being carried out by volunteers who have given up some of their freedom to risk (and lose) their lives in our defense . Whether that policy truly serves to defend America can be subject for political debate. What should never be subject to political debate is our respect for and thanks to those who volunteer to put their lives on the line in service to our nation. Sometimes the distinction gets lost in the debate.
And so today, I just want to take a moment to say a sincere thank you to those who serve, and to those who have given their lives in service to the United States of America.