Memorial Day 2010

Got home last night from an abbreviated motorcycle ride, woke up this morning, and put the flag out on the porch.

A small symbol of the day, but one that started me thinking.

And I realized that we make a serious mistake here in America when we talk about our ‘gifts'; the gifts of freedom, or prosperity, or security. These aren’t gifts, they are debts. Cultural and national debts. We owe for them. I’m big on that issue.

And as a nation and a culture, we’ve been sort of bad about the debt thing. We tend to think about what we have as gifts freely given, which means we can squander them at will. But I have a feeling – a hope – that as we become more frugal and prudent financially as a nation, we also will become more aware of the greater debts that we must repay.

Cultural and national debt isn’t inherently bad; it’s important and useful because it means we get to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I enjoy what I have today because others helped create and defend it. The issue is whether we are ready – as a nation and a culture – to acknowledge the debt we owe.

And make no mistake, you and I owe…we owe to the future citizens of our nation and members of our culture to leave them something of value. Each of us can – each of us has the chance to pay that debt in our own way, with our own contributions.

Soldiers have paid for what I have with their lives, their blood, their spiritual hurt and their physical suffering, and today is the day we set aside to remember them, and to reflect on what they have given us, and what we owe for it.

Because no lie…each and every one of us owes. This year, it has become personal for me as I think this year – about James Nolen and Carlos Santos-Silva and Marcus Tynes, and the others who served with my son and will not be at the green ramp when the families welcome the soldiers whom this fall – and am more motivated to try and make sure that in my life, I’m paying what I owe.

Fixed typo on Marcus Tynes’ name…
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3 thoughts on “Memorial Day 2010”

  1. I like it. Viewed in this way, if you are Jewish, you might say Memorial Day is to Yom Kippur what he 4th of July is to Passover. The former being reflective and the latter celebratory. And if you are Christian, you might say that Memorial Day is to Lent like the 4th of July is to Easter. And if you’re an atheist and don’t have a son in the military. . . well, Marc’s Memorial Day sentiment is a good reminder not to take this day for granted. Thank you.

  2. bq. “…if you are Jewish, you might say Memorial Day is to Yom Kippur what he 4th of July is to Passover.”

    Very much so.

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