Friday, May 23, 2008

I didn't get it


On Memorial Day weekend we Americans remember gratefully all in our military who have died for our country. That gratitude has grown on me through the years.

I was raised in the most privileged surroundings in the history of the human race up to that point. We were more secure, better fed, more advantaged than any previous generation ever. Things worked.

Then in the late 60s, having forsaken God, my Woodstock generation stood up one day and said, "Hey, why not trash all this?" And we did. I'm sorry.

By now I am amazed by things that never amazed me before. For example, a neighborhood. What an astonishing thing a neighborhood is. People have houses that keep the rain and bugs out. A hidden system channels the sewage away to a treatment plant. Flip a switch, the lights go on. Run out of sugar, borrow some from next door. Get into trouble, pick up the phone and there are police and firemen and medics literally waiting to help out. It's amazing. A neighborhood doesn't just happen. It is the result of many years of intelligent and caring purpose. And all that time, somebody was out there with a gun in his hand, putting his life on the line to say to the bad guys, "You will not destroy our neighborhoods." Some of our military paid a heavy price to do that.

Yes, we have serious failings as a nation. And we all are entitled to think for ourselves about how to solve these problems. That entitlement doesn't guarantee a good outcome. We might screw it up worse, or we might make it better. I don't know which way it's going to go. I do know this. Like never before, I am grateful to all our military people through the years for their sacrificial service to the rest of us. I honor them. I owe them that.

I'm beginning to get it.