Legislative Update
Memorial Day 2013

As a kid growing up in the late 1950's and early 60's, it seemed as though every friend had a story to share about the exploits of his or her father or mother, with respect to WW II.  So many were involved in that great struggle that it was only natural to share those collective experiences with one another.  It was true after the Civil War as well--so many experienced so much that a common thread was woven into our national fabric. Indeed, it was after the Civil War that "Decoration Day" or now, Memorial Day, was instituted to remember the sacrifice of those who perished in that war, and to help heal the "wounds" inflicted upon those who survived the conflict.

During WW II, my own father proudly served in the U.S. Navy while my father-in-law served in the Seabees--both in the Pacific. At home, my mother participated in numerous scrap metal drives as a young girl, and my mother-in-law worked at the hospital due to the shortage of workers caused by the war. The point is, every person was affected in some way by the war and all had memories of their service to that great effort.

On this Memorial Day, as we pause to remember the sacrifices that were made for us just to be here, let us also pause to reflect upon how we can best honor those who gave so much.  The War between the States, the "Indian" wars of the Great Plains, the Spanish-American War, the War of the Filipino Insurrection, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars,  and Afghanistan all have occurred within the last century and a half.  Controversial, sacrificial, costly and altering the course of history--these conflicts have made lasting impressions on those who served; those who knew those who served; and on those who are living, in part because of the sacrifices of those who served.

What then, are we to take away from Memorial Day when we see a society that is still in struggle with itself and at war with terror?  What do we take away when the gap between rich and poor grows daily, when the cost of healthcare for all is still being debated, when drugs fill our streets and violence spills into our schoolyards?  Are we to become cynical, jaded, or indifferent when it seems that the world has gone mad, unemployment remains high, and government seems dysfunctional?

Nothing of the sort. These are problems and challenges to be sure. And they are just as daunting to us as winning the war against Fascism was to the Greatest Generation. But as the Seabees "Can Do!" motto reminds us, so too can we, "Can Do!"  If we are willing to serve, to sacrifice, to place others ahead of self, we can begin to repair the American Dream which has become somewhat tattered. As that generation never lost hope, let us, in our time, in our place, rekindle that spirit and take on, full bore, those issues which confront us. By our service to each other we can best remember and honor those who did the same for us at the Marne, the Bulge, and at Pork Chop Hill. On this Memorial Day, and those to follow, let us endeavor to never lose hope, to never lose courage, and to never cease to serve each other.  They would want it no other way, those whom we remember today....

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