Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day

This weekend, Americans across the world will be celebrating Memorial Day. It has various meanings to many fellow Red, White, & Blue constituents. Previously known as Decoration Day, this American holiday falls on May 30, 2011 (last Monday in May). This day signifies the ultimate sacrifices that men and women across the various United States military services have endowed. As I believe death is not the end, honoring those before us that have perished in all wars is a necessity.

Because I am a disabled veteran, this United States federal holiday has a meaning that I hold near and true to my heart. From my prior service in the United States Army as an Expert Infantryman (E.I.B., 1997) under the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, from my father's time being in the Army during the Vietnam era, and previous to that with my grandfather being a veteran of World War II, I exercise my own ritual of remembrance. As I listen to Bob Dylan's signature song entitled Blowin' in the Wind (1963) and puff away on my pipe in deep contemplative thought, I am truly thankful that my heart still beats and my blood still runs deep in my veins. "Yes, how many times must the cannon balls fly, Before they're forever banned?" A question raised in 1963 in which still has no apparent answer.

So I urge you as you smoke a bowl of your finest tobacco within your most trusted pipe, contemplate this question and discover your own answer. Whether you have served this great country known around the world as the Land of Freedom, or if your father, brothers, or relatives have before you, never forget their sacrifice. The United States of America is still a great country and stands for strength, honor, and improving the quality of life. As an intellectual and civilized society, we have developed the path of conversations leading to understanding, compromise, and negotiations, regardless of what language is our primary communication tool.

Being an American means we all come from a variety of backgrounds, whether Italian, German, Irish, or Asian. Being an American means we have different religions such as Roman Catholic, Christian, Pagan, or Buddhist. But, the most important part of all, is to remember we are all Americans. Remember this during your Memorial Day ritual, light your pipe, and let this moment shed some light on thee, instead of letting it blow in the wind. With this being said, if we all strived to understand what makes us similar as human beings instead of what makes us different, we would have less violence and possibly no need for war.

America: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.