Wednesday, November 11, 2015

VETERANS DAY

       Today is Veterans Day. Today is the day we celebrate those who have served and have fought for our freedoms. They risk their lives and leave family and friends behind, and by now, we all know how they get treated when they return.  For the families who endure long stretches of time away from their spouses and kids, I truly can't imagine how one makes that work. I commend all the families who go through the roller coaster of emotions that comes with this kind of duty, mostly under-appreciated.

       Today is also a day I always feel guilt, and a little ashamed. I haven't known how to properly thank those who sacrifice for us. 'Thank you' really never seems enough. I can thank a soldier for what they do when I see them in their uniform, on a flight, or meeting them in social situations, at Starbuck's getting coffee in a red cup - but it STILL doesn't ever feel like enough. I often wonder how that military person may feel hearing that. Has it gotten to the point that we say it because we are supposed to? Do people feel it when they say it? Does the military feel a genuine thanks?

     Maybe I was in a more introspective mood today as I was running around doing my errands, and maybe the songwriter in me was looking for deeper meaning in the mundane...but there were things that struck me today as I did so. My day started by taking all the recyclables to the recycle station. It is a chore I don't enjoy much, mostly because I don't take the time to properly sort my plastics from my glass, but I know I am doing a good thing...and also whenever I am there I feel like I get a snapshot in to human behavior. "Look at all the good people doing good things for the earth". "Look at all the stuff that will not sit in a landfill". "Look at all those cardboard boxes people don't break down and properly put them in the containers". The sign clearly states to break them down. (The containers were NOT full).


I know, it sounds pretty whiny on my part. I know I should just be happy that they at LEAST brought
the boxes there, and the Pollyannas out there are all thinking "well, they probably left them there like that because maybe they thought other people might need them for moving or something." But it leads me to a deeper feeling I have about the state of our world. To me, this represents, " I don't want to deal with this, and now it's someone else's problem'- and deeper yet, "I don't care about the person who has to take extra time to clean up MY mess I left, nor do I respect you". It feeds my thoughts on how we have become a country of entitled, selfish, lazy, and greedy people. (Please. I know ALL people are NOT this way).  

      It's all around us. I try so hard to not get angry. It's because I cannot understand some things. I know I am not perfect by any means, but I KNOW I am a conscientious human being. I try to operate like we are all on the same team. I am aware of my fellow human.  It seems we are excuse makers, finger pointers, victims, and in my eyes, doing a lot of sloppy living. We have lost a lot of respect for ourselves and others, floating through life. We hide behind social media, blame presidents for all that is wrong, don't reach for quality in food, products...art and music! We don't use our blinkers. We cut people off. We don't pay attention when the light turns green because we are too busy scrolling through Facebook. We text and drive, drink and drive, and risk other's lives. As long as we take care of ourselves and get where we are going... We have become a throw away, drive-thru nation where we are all about the 'right now', not thinking about the consequences...whose lives our actions affect...today, tomorrow. I could go on...

     So, what does all my whining have to do with Veterans Day? I think, a lot. In my questioning of how to thank our veterans for their services, I feel one way we can all thank them is simply by being better human beings, respectful human beings. Respect the fact that they are out there fighting and losing their lives for your choice to be lazy, entitled, greedy or not. Choose "or not".  Make them feel they are fighting for a good reason. I think it is kind of insulting to them for us to behave in such ways. You know when you put all your blood, sweat and tears in to something and it goes unnoticed? Think about it.  Freedom is a privilege to have. I know we could be doing better. You are free to make the choice. So, be good to yourself, and be good to others, and that will make our country a place worth their fighting for.