Memorial Day

I was recently very proud of my brother Jared, a decorated Marine Corps Colonel, a wonderful husband and father, and generally great guy! He gave a speech on the topic of Memorial Day and said, “What did they die for? To protect our freedom and our way of life.” Jared repatriated many fallen Marines from Afghanistan to their families in the United States. I can’t imagine the toll that must have taken on him, and yet he said, “In his house, not one tear will be shed, we will celebrate their lives.” He went on to say that we should honor them by living in a way that makes the lives of everyone around us better, and how after 9-11 there was so much unity, because all Americans stood together against a common enemy. We leaned on and supported each other. I think we all remember that tragic day, where we were, the shock, the horror, and for those individuals, tears should be shed. In the aftermath I saw a country with a purpose, where we put our differences aside. I also remember a conductor I worked with for many years saying to orchestras, “Don’t be right, be together!”. Any individual opinion about how something should be done is worthless if the ensemble can’t function as a unified whole. That said, as individuals, we all strive to bring our diverse backgrounds, experiences, education, skill set, and informed perspective to a greater whole. That attitude makes us strong, the sum becomes greater than the parts. I’m sorry to say that in this country, right now, I see a nation divided against itself. We are giving up freedom for false safety induced by fear, we are tearing each other down rather than lifting each other up. In the words of Will and Ariel Durant, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within. Perhaps “Three American Pieces” by Lucas Foss, can help us remember.

Karine Stone