Independence Day Attitude

15 06 2010

Coming of age in the late 60s, I strongly protested the Vietnam War.  It did not impress me that my father and uncle both served in Korea, or that my family’s military history extended many generations.  I do not understand war; in fact, I still protest why anyone is fighting anywhere.  I have always been able to talk my way around any confrontation, and usually work out amicable agreements.  Of course, a case could be made that I am just a wimp – I have never been in a physical fight and the idea has no appeal to me to this day. This is a pretty strong opinion, and I would highly recommend you find articles representing the other side of this issue – one of the best places to find more information about refuting this position can be found at the VFW site.

Now I am quite a bit older; and quite possibly even a little bit wiser.  I am a better listener, and I have had the pleasure of sharing stories from many people with strong military backgrounds.  There are probably as many reasons for a person to choose to fight as there are people out there fighting.

The ultimate truth is that I was born an American.  There are countless things we are allowed to do; to own; to aspire to; (my ability to write these feelings for instance) – all treated as if they are our given right.  They are not.  As a pacifist, it can be difficult to understand the military point of view – but it makes sense.  Talk to a few veterans – I guarantee they will help with your perceptions – these are their lives, and most of them are great stories.

We repeatedly hear that people just don’t understand terrorism.  Terrorists are evil, destructive, and intent on destroying everything Americans believe in.  I believe this is way too simplistic.  Bob Dylan probably explained the terrorist attitude (probably unintentionally) when he said “When You Got Nothin’, You Got Nothin’ To Lose”.

Americans forget that even in these tough economic times, most of us are far better off than most of the global population.  Our hats should be off and our respect amplified for those thousands upon thousands of men and women who, whatever their reasons, gave their time as well as many of their lives, to allow us to remain America.

I acknowledge my naiveté, but I will probably die a pacifist.  The difference is perspective – now I understand why and where many conflicting and equally correct points of view can arrive at the same conclusion.  That conclusion may result in necessary violence.  I don’t like it, but I don’t like beets either (and they’re still around).

Some things are simply inevitable – so say thanks repeatedly to those who have given everything for us to have our beliefs.

In America, Independence Day should hold the same significance as Thanksgiving. Let’s celebrate diversity loud and clear, and give thanks every day for all we have (and why we have it.)

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