Friday, May 28, 2010

Freedom Isn't Free

Maybe it's my age, maybe it's the silent list of those killed in action at the end of the News Hour or maybe it's the impact of having just finished watching all ten episodes of The Pacific on HBO or some combination of the foregoing plus the fact that it is Memorial Day weekend that prompts this post. Who knows?

When I say my age, I am of the generation that was born just before WWII, so while I was aware that my father was "away" I really was too young to connect any dots. When the war was over I was six and about the most I remembered was handing a bouquet of flowers to the MPs at the base in Tallahassee, Fla.

Because I was so young, as I grew older and was exposed to programs such as Victory at Sea, it still all felt like the good guys against the bad guys and since you knew who "won" it was neat to watch, but even as a young adult, it didn't all hit home.

It wasn't until even later on that I began to read some histories (e.g. Truman by David McCullough) that I began to realize just how close we had come to losing what I took for granted every day, to the point where I rarely thought about it at all.

Fast forward to today, and I have to say when I look around and see the sort of thing that Steve McCallion has so eloquently portrayed in his post on Fast Company, it worries me a lot.

There is much I could say about it here, but as I say, it would do an injustice to McCallion's piece but if you have not read it, read it.

I have been fortunate enough to be in some countries at a time when the acknowledgements of the kind that McCallion's article references have taken place, and they are powerful, emotional and stick with you.

It is quite a feeling when no matter where you are or what you are doing everything comes to a total halt, and for sure is a different feeling than eating hot dogs that come wrapped in red, white and blue napkins.

The moments of silence that we sometimes have at sporting events are nothing by comparison in helping a nation to remember things like freedom isn't free until one sees their world simply stop.

If we did this as a start, maybe generations who have yet to relate will start to internalize the fact that there are some things where the term video game is an oxymoron.

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