It's been a rough week in America-land.
Tuesday was a historic election with historic results - both the results of the president elect and the resulting reactions of many different parts of the country.
Thursday was the Marine Corps birthday. Happy 241st Birthday, Marines!
Today is Veterans' Day.
For some, this is a day off from work and for discounted pricing on commercial goods. For many others, this is a time of remembering some very good times and some very bad times. Our military is made up of representatives from every corner of this country - color, race, creed, social and economic background, geographic background, upbringing, belief system... Each individual brings his and/or her own story to the fabric of the military and each of them has written a blank check to the United States of America for up to and including one (their) life.
These individuals are willing to serve, protect, and die for people that they have never met because they believe that America is a very special place and deserves their best; that the people who make up these United States are very special. In return, don't our veterans and members of our military deserve our best? Not only today, but everyday?
I am grateful for having the (perceived) freedom and constitutional
right to profess my truths without fear of terror. [(While I myself have been the victim of violence because of my gender and religion, I also recognize that I have many privileges (that have not yet been violated)]. I am grateful to be able to create and share works of art that may challenge and question. I am grateful to be able to converse with people who believe differently than I do - because of the protection of our men and women in uniform.
Recent events have made me question how long these freedoms and rights will continue, but that's a reflection for another time. At the core, I believe that there is a deep love that our veterans and military demonstrate when they sign their name on the dotted line. It is this love that we need to respect, honor, and reciprocate.
"Thank you" will never be enough. Welcome home.
A dear friend, and veteran himself, created and shared this poem for today. Thank you, Michael, for the permission to repost:
"When a veteran falls,
A young man or woman,
At ripe age often still wounded,
Or in their prime in sacrifice
For their friends and nation,
As their bodies fall soft
To the ground or the sea,
A space opens gentle finally
For them to be filled by
Our love, honor, respect.
A great spirit passes thru it
Leaving us to consider the
Better, gentler days in golden
Sunshine, sea grasses flowing,
To remember a great soul and
Dearest friend as an eagle flies
To honor that respectful space.
Be at peace all this day.
Remember, know the best.
-Michael Lancaster 101st Abn RVN.
Veterans's Day 2016