I cannot get enough of summer...ever...never have been able to. Though weirdly enough I never see myself wanting to live anywhere like Florida or Arizona where summer is pretty much year round. I love summer partially because it is something too look forward to, enjoy while it is here and then spend a lot of time waiting for again. I look forward to these longer days, warm weather and of course the beach.
It all starts with Memorial Day for me. I know that is not the actual start of summer but it is when most of pack up cars, or fire up barbecues and generally start our pilgrimages to whatever we define summer destination as. In all of this I want to also take the time to honor Memorial Day as the day we should all spend remembering that there are men and women who have no more summers or any seasons because they have died in combat. They have died for their beliefs and I am not sure many people I know could or would do that. They have gone to wars and into situations that no one should ever have to endure. This year I asked myself "what is it all for "with the decade long wars in the middle east. I have heard from friends that the wars there have possibly kept us safer from acts of terror, I am not sure I ascribe to this set of beliefs. I have heard that these wars were to benefit the people of those regions. Personally I think the death of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden are both things that benefit humanity in general, these were people committed to death and whose main goal was to inflict horror on others so no loss. I am not sure those regions are any more stable for their deaths though. I would like to hope that the people of those nations can now choose not to be governed by dictators but am not sure our brand of democracy is for them.
As the start of my favorite season begins I did take a moment to be mindful of all those who died because of their belief in the way of life I currently enjoy. I took a moment and allowed the tears to flow for those families whose loved ones will not join them in beach outings, summer vacations or any other activity. I did not lose sight of the fact that my ability to even debate the merits or folly of these wars is all because of the country that I live in. It is here that my fondest memories are made and it is the US that welcomed my family when the place we were born in turned that country into a place where there could be no moments of pure joy as there was always the shadow of something that could take it all away from you. The United States still is the most unique and amazing country in the world. This does not mean others do not have their own merits or stand out in some way but the US is not just a country but a way of life (and I am paraphrasing Bono). It is a place that inspires emotions (some good and some bad but what other country can claim that so passionately) and dreams globally. It is the place that with all its flaws and imperfections still manages to show an optimism that cannot be found anywhere else.
I do not agree with the wars of the past 10 years for they mostly have been at a sacrifice that has not been worth it and I hope that our government, and all of us, never forget that those who have sacrificed either time, limbs, life all deserve to be treated like the heroes they are. I will start this season of sun, warmth and the lightness of the spirit that I love with a moment to say thank you and hope we bring the rest of them home soon so that Memorial Day in the future will not have any additional names under its moment of silence.