Memorial Day Exception

I could post a photo of my great-grandfather on horseback, France, WWI.

I could post a photo of my grandfather on a ship heading to Germany, WWII.

Or my father, as a new surgical resident treating soldiers, stateside, during Viet Nam.

But I no longer want to catalogue time through war.

On this Memorial Day, I’d like to thank the diplomats whose thoughtfulness and expertise keep soldiers (and entire nations) out of harm’s way.

I want to thank the educators and the legislators and the authors and the visionaries who define and protect and uphold democracy; the civil right activists, the protestors, our justice system, the free press, and the vets who speak out on behalf of civility and equality and peace.

I do not know what it is to be trained to protect and kill, to be sent to far away places and tender one’s life on a daily basis, but I do know what it is to take a fierce look at what needs doing and do it even afraid.

I’d like the thank the parents who teach their children to think, to consider, to feel, or better yet the parents who do not extinguish the natural response to suffering–whether human or animal or planetary.

Thank you environmentalists, scientists, non-profit leaders, all those who work to protect our natural resources, our children, the arts & culture.

And thank you to all those who wear a uniform to protect and uphold humanity, the police officers and the National Guard, and also those serving abroad in each branch of the military, and also the State Department, and especially those who serve in any capacity on behalf of the United Nations.

So instead of my father or grandfather or great-grandfather in uniform, I’ll post this photo of my grandmother, flag drooping in her hand, dreams unrealized because they, like time, and memorials, were dedicated to men.


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