I hope everyone had a wonderful, long weekend. This post is not a post about just living in Syracuse.
There is hope that you somehow paid respects to those who have fought for us and have given their all, their lives, to make this country, the United States of America, what it is today. There may be confusion with Veteran’s Day, and these soldiers have right to be celebrated as well, but let’s be honest:
We should thank our lucky stars and stripes on a daily basis for the efforts, the guts, and the glory these soldiers — dead and alive — risked and sacrificed their lives for.
It’s true that you might not support the war, but be damn grateful for those who have … to fight for you and for your rights.
Without their sacrifices, the integrity of America would be more worn and tattered as some may feel it is today.
Immigrants should be appreciative as well. Past immigrants, our ancestors, would not have made their way here, to work, and give way to generations that include your eventual birth. My ancestors not moving to this country would have led to my being born in Italy or Ireland, or Czech — not that I would complain about any of those options — but life would have been significantly different. These folk worked harder than us — in my opinion — and they were not distracted by (or “privileged to have”) technology and social media. They built from the ground up; their small businesses have evolved to bigger corporations, larger-sized entities, or have stayed the same little bread or meat shop that is enjoyed today. Families were raised and couples stuck together; save the notion that couples got married younger and had kids earlier as well.
Soldiers fought and countless lives were lost even before the beginning of our nation’s 1776 birth. Our land of the free integrity was installed and protected. However, this saying has gotten confused with the most recent misconstrued designation of “land of the free shit.”
We all have a role to play, and we have to work for it.
Even with our success at obtaining freedom, we had a rough bout with our British friends. However, through consistent communication, we were able to put on our big kid pants and work together. In the grand scheme of things that is the world, better global communication is necessary and can happen.
A thank you, a simple verbal thank you — this can be one while you’re in your bed tonight, waiting to fall asleep, staring at the wall or ceiling — can be whispered. While you sit at your desk job, disliking every second of it, soldiers are stationed abroad and are willing to risk their lives.
For you to enjoy this Memorial Day with friends, family, ceremony, Mass or other religious services (because you wouldn’t be able to practice your preference otherwise) … whether you’re in a backyard, at a camp in a mountainous region, getting married, sitting by a lake, working (yes, there are some of your friends and family who have to work) … whether you’re eating burgers, [hot] dogs, crab legs, or oysters, or dog food …
You wouldn’t be able to. Maybe not even next year.
There was a great moment of silence during the national ceremony today. I was preparing a salsa for a Memorial Day outing with my improv crew.
My parents recently went to Arlington National Cemetery for the first time in their lives. Yes, that insinuates that — truthfully — I’ve never been there. Their opinion of the experience is amazing or incredible or breathtaking. They didn’t say surreal — they equally dislike that word. There is no personal care for it since so many people use it often and out of context that it has been watered down. Also, we are talking about our country. Our country, our appeal, our integrity (I’m going to keep saying that) is not surreal, but reality.
Our country’s definition is not in a dreamlike state, a fantasy, an awestruck illusion. It’s reality, folks.
I don’t know about you, but for me there was reassurance that I got some sleep last night without having to fear for my life being taken by a bomb or a sniper — something our troops are dealing with overseas, situations that have taken many lives. Sunday night, a fire pit scene that was surrounded by friends squishing s’mores allowed us to joke and laugh with passion while we looked up at the stars every so often. A Monday morning run was accented with several verbal good mornings to strangers, and they all smiled. The child the other week playing the game on the other side of the glass was simply passing time while waiting for a routine bus ride.
We may not believe in fighting, we may think the violence is necessary (but who does?), and we may shake our fists at the stubborn people unwilling to talk; yet, being stationed has to be done. We still have soldiers overseas willing to die for our safety, willing to sacrifice themselves for that final communicative resolve that binds nations together, that resolution that could eventually slap everyone upside the head in deciding to finally work together. Those who have died, their life stories are told in short through paperwork, stories, and family.
Our country currently is struggling with several internal issues that cannot be fully mentioned here. Yet, we are in such disbelief of these atrocities that we blindly continue our lives and thinking this (whatever it is) cannot happen to us, when it can. We have to be on guard all the time, but we’re not, and we shouldn’t have to be.
In my high school tenure, there was Columbine and copious bomb threats that evacuated our schools in Central New York on almost a daily basis. Fast forward years later to Sandy Hook. Now, the most recent shooting happened in California, and it was over a personal psychological issue with people not liking the murderer.
People are quick to blame the inanimate weapon, and not the person behind the atrocity. We have the right to bear arms for protection against our government. If you’re going to erase that amendment, you may as well erase the entire U.S. Constitution. That will do no good, but bring anarchy.
Your freedom has been protected. It will be protected. Sleep tight tonight. Enjoy time away from work and technology, and enjoy it with friends and family or however you independently shall choose. Sleep well tonight. Kiss the one you love or anticipate seeing the one you love. Enjoy your sitcoms. Clink some glasses and share some laughs. But don’t worry if you don’t eat all the food you decided to take, you can still fill in your belly with dessert.
(Yes. That last line is me taking a shot as much as it is a metaphor.)
Lastly and most importantly: thank you to all those who have risked and sacrificed their lives in order to protect what they believe in:
Christopher Malone plays with more thoughts and words at his blog, The Infinite Abyss(es), and at Kinani Blue. He can also be found creating worlds and playing with invisible objects with the Syracuse Improv Collective. Feel free to tweet at @Chris___Malone, or email him (for a date?) at firstname.lastname@example.org.