(This one is for remembering. The passing of my friends from the Deuce. Your peace is my strength.)
The US Memorial Day is almost here. Americans are getting ready for their barbeques and weekend shopping excursions—red, white and blue litter the streets, patriotism litter people’s facebook pages.
Fireworks are bought, plans are set; news reporters are busy checking gas prices and weather conditions. They do sprinkle a few feel good stories about crippled vets. Ballparks salute the few uniforms chosen to represent the armed forces. Everyone is ready to play.
It’s a heck of a weekend.
Memorial Day is not unique to the United States. Other countries have dedicated their respective one-day to token their dead soldiers. But I venture to guess most are like the madness we witness here—remembering is just an act, an excuse to be delighted for some time off work and celebrate the liver’s capacity to tolerate the delicious brews in large quantities.
I dread this day. It’s a day I count my friends living and dead. Not just the ones that passed in Iraq, but those who ventured to fight for something meaningful and paid for a better world with their lives.
Bhagat Singh, Vladimir Bogoyavlensky, Jean Francois De La Barre, Sun Yat-sen . . . need I go on?
I dread this day, this week, and these months. This is supposed to be a time when we hold on to the things we love, the things that make us who we are, and the things we never want to lose. But how soon do my Chinese friends forget the Cultural Revolution? How quickly do they ignore the man standing in front of the tanks on Tiananmen?
How soon do my American friends forget the decisions we made in Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan?
But hey, don’t let me stop you from having fun. Go and enjoy it. Because people sacrificed much for you and you should have the time of your life. Don’t waste it. Don’t forget it.
It was Max Payne who said “The flames can not burn away the past. They only make the shadows leap higher.” Above all, we remember then. No weapons in the world are so powerful as the courage of free men and women. But freedom is not the inebriated desire to enjoy what we have; it’s about the sober state of knowing that we have the ability to think and remember for things as they are and grow as we see fit.