The word that is sticking in my head today is "independence." I know that the actual USA "Independence Day" isn't for another month and a half, but thinking about Memorial Day made me think about how many soldiers have fought for the idea of freedom from tyranny. "Freedom isn't free" - I keep seeing that slogan all over Facebook today, and I agree. Sometimes, you have to make the difficult choices when faced with something that goes against your moral core. Sometimes, that choice means being willing to risk losing something that matters to you - sometimes, that is a very scary choice to make. At least, I used to think that. Then you find yourself in the middle of the decision and recognize that it's always been clear what you should do.
So many people have died for this country. Died. It's a sobering thought. Many of them wore uniforms, held weapons to defend or attack their enemies. Our nation was founded on the principle of being prepared to defend this nation at all costs, from any enemy, without or within.
This Memorial Day also makes me think of all the people who have died in this country who were not soldiers. Who were not in uniform, who were not on the front lines in some other country, who were not holding weapons. Some of these lives were taken by foreign extremists. Many were taken by domestic extremists. People who believed that their philosophies, their rage, their hostility justified the taking of other human lives.
I think about those people as well. And I wonder how long we - all of us, this whole human race - will allow all this senselessness to go on.
If you'd like a rhetorical question, to help wind this whole statement up, then how about this:
What could we, as a world, accomplish, if we had one full year without violence? Working together, for the benefit of us all? What might we do?