Heber Springs, AR

Today is Memorial Day. Most people of my generation don’t really understand what this weekend is all about. We look at it as a Monday off from work and a long weekend. It is that, but is much more than that. We see the TV and the Internet with all of the news about Iraq and this new war that we are fighting, but I don’t think it truly registers with us. We have not had to see our best friends (or ourselves) drafted into a war. We have not seen or been a part of huge scale war protests. We have not seen a full out war like our parents and grandparents have seen. Some of us know people in the military. But for the majority of my group, we are in a cocoon. Sadly, I know my first thought for Memorial Day was not to go to a parade or a remembrance, but it was to go to the lake.

I do think and remember all of those that have fought for me to go to the lake or travel the country as I please. But I still do not have the fire to formally recognize them. I’m not sure why that is. I call my uncle and a friend of mine from the Army every Veteran’s Day. I thank them for what they did. But I still do not show my pride in my actions. A 30 second thought once or twice over the weekend is not enough. I just sat with Grandpa who was in WWII. I just sat with a retired Navy Captain who has put his life on the line numerous times. I sat with a retired U.S. Air Force pilot who flew hundreds of missions. But still, I think of the sun and the lake.

I think that my generation has not felt the sting of war like the others before. When they talked of the WWII memorial that is opening in DC, I think they said 400,000 died. When you talk of Vietnam it also is a huge number. I am guessing the country was united by WWII. I am guessing the country battled over the battle in Vietnam. Today, we read and see, but I’m not sure if the great majority truly feel. We all felt 9/11. We were enraged. But how many of us were enraged enough to leave the comforts that we have to do something about it? I think that is what makes Pat Tillman’s story so powerful. We have it good with our jobs and cars. He had millions. He left millions. He went. He died. That fills with you mixed emotions. But there are others who went because they wanted the aide the military gives for school. There are so many reasons why someone is in the military. Why they come back or why they don’t is a question I will not try and answer.

I’m not really sure where all of this is going. Other than this weekend is about much more than a day off from work. Maybe this is me feeling guilty about not feeling the meaning, but it is there. I don’t know what it will take to unite us like we were in WWII. I actually think what it will take is something I don’t want to see. We are in our cocoon. I know I like my cocoon pretty good. But, if and when something comes along and breaks up our cocoons, I am confident our country will be able to handle it. We are just not going to break the cocoons ourselves.

Phew. Enough. Back to the daily happenings. I’m at Greer’s Ferry Lake getting ready to go out on a boat and enjoy an 85-degree sunny day. We have barbeque to eat for lunch and beer in the fridge. I will enjoy my cocoon.

For today, take a look back at the people you know who are or have been in the military. It is not an easy job for them. Whether they were in war or not remember those people. If you know someone, call them. Send them an email. You don’t know what a difference it will make to hear from someone giving them support. It will make their day and take your mind out of the cocoon for a bit.