I know I would never join any Armed Services. I never had an interest. First, I am way too lazy to endure boot camp. I cannot do push ups, cannot run long distances, cannot go without sleep or food. I cannot endure someone yelling in my face and trying to break me. I know this. I did not join.
I also know I could never pick up a weapon and point it at another human being. I just couldn’t do it. In college I knew a guy who ran scenario after scenario trying to get me to admit I would want a gun to protect myself in each situation. I refused to agree. I was young. I had nobody I would want to defend. The idea of what I would do if my child was in danger was still an absurdity to me.
I am no longer a young college student. Yet even in all the years since I knew that guy, I have never experienced any of those scenarios. Why? Probably because we are a lot safer than many want us to believe.
Now I have witnessed a lot since the small college world in which I lived. I know there are people who absolutely hate me because I am an American. They have never met me as an individual, but they hate me. I know this, I do not understand this.
I know there are people who look at the color of skin on another individual and instantly do not trust them and want to do them harm. I know this, I do not understand it.
I know there are descendants of people mistreated and killed who would spend their lives in misery trying to hold onto that long ago injustice. I know this, I do not understand it.
I know there are people who see the clothing someone else wears and instantly categorize them as a threat because of their religion or culture. I know this, I do not understand it.
I know there are people who look at police officers and want to kill them because they see them as power hungry and evil. I know this, I do not understand it.
I know that there are others who want to make America a very different place. They want us all to follow their religion, their rules. I know we are expected to hate them for this. I know this, but I do not understand it.
Today is Memorial Day.
Millions of men and women were not like me. They did not fear physical activity. They did not fear picking up a weapon and defending our country. They did not cower in fear from the battle they fought in order to enable me to sit comfortably in my home and tap keys on my computer.
I know that today, I am expected to say thank you, I am expected to honor all those who put on the uniform and all those who left their boots on the battlefield. To honor the families who proudly, albeit tearfully, let go of their loved ones and watched them march off, away from the safety of home.
I know today is a day to honor those soldiers, it is a day to salute them. It is a day to be grateful.
I know this. This, I UNDERSTAND.
So, Dear Soldiers,
I solute you, and thank you.