Those of you that have been here since I started, know one thing. I am a big supporter of the Armed Forces. Not just because I am from a family rich in serving the military, no. While we have a history of it, and I am proud of it, but that means nothing to those families that give all for my freedom.
No. It is because I love my freedom. It’s because I know what that freedom I love costs our families. I know the fear of someone not coming home. I know the joy of seeing them when they do. I know the fear in wondering if they’re ok. I remember very clearly the day this country was attacked. I remember sitting in front of the TV, devastated.
I remember walking through the veteran’s cemetery here in Houston, looking for my Grandfather’s place. Seeing all the people who have given all so I can be here today writing this. I cry when I listen to songs like the one above, knowing that it was the grace of God that I didn’t have to be here in this graveyard for the ones who served that I love.
I remember when the Gulf War started. I remember listening to people crying out against us being on foreign soil. And most of all, I remember my own history…
See, I never understood why we never remember the history that was taught to us all through school. I know I was told over and over history repeats itself, and I have seen this come true. You doubt me? Let’s take a couple journeys.
Once upon a time, there was a man who decided he was stronger than others, that he knew better than anyone else. He decided that he will take his war ravaged people, and make them a force to be reckoned with. His people needed direction, they had been preyed upon, and they gladly followed him. He exterminated millions. He killed to keep them strong. Once he unified his people, he turned his vision on the outside, and he decided to take what he thought was his right.
Now who am I talking about? I bet a lot of you think Hitler. What about Alexander the Great? Or even Julius Caesar? Genghis Kahn? Any of these ring a bell?
How about this one? A group of rebels fought against the unfair rulings of the people in charge of the time. They made a stand, and drew their line in the sand. They protested, they tried a peaceful resolution. The people in power decided that is was time to make an example of them. They came back and were harsher against the people that had only wanted their voices to be heard. They ignored the voices, and the people took action to make their lives better, suffering under the tyranny of those above them.
America is an example. China, France, and the specific one I was thinking about? England. Magna Carta ring a bell to anyone? But my husband read this and brought up the Greeks of ancient history.
You are probably seeing a trend. Yes, I was told a lot of this was not taught. I have had some awesome history teachers, but most of the time, I will admit I was bored in class. I would read the book. I also had a father who loved history, and I lived in an area rich in history. Yes, I was born into Pittsburgh, and if you are from up north, history is everywhere you turn, if you do not willfully ignore it. The same thing if you live in Europe and so forth.
The point? That history does repeat itself. Remember when America was founded? Who came to help us? The French. Who did we fight against? The Brits. Now. Who are our closest allies? The Brits, and who did we save from another country? The French.
I know you guys are like, “Wendy, this has nothing to do with now. We are fighting a war for oil.”
Hmm. One more example. Gun control. There was a country who decided that there needed to be gun control. They were strict, tired after a war had ravaged their country, a war raged on their very soil by their allies. They took away all the guns. And yes the country was safe-ish. Until another country decided to attack them. Then the farmers, the city-dwellers, and others tried to defend their homes agasint the invaders. They tried to fight with the weapons they had been left with. And they were slaughtered.
The country? Poland. The invaders? The Germans of the second World War. The people were brave. They fought for their freedom, to maintain it. They fought against tanks, armies with guns with nothing other than pitchforks and axes. It was all they had since guns kill people. You know what is funny about that? Guns do nothing. I have been around guns all my life, and never once been hurt by one. They lie there under the beds, in the closets and safes, and never do anything.
Now. Give a gun to a human, and you have a different story. Depending on the human, that gun will become a weapon. But you know what? So do steak knives, axes, and sharp pieces of wood. Shoot, with the right human, a spoon can be deadly. What are you going to do? Take my spoons away?
I grew up with more freedom than people do now. I could ride my bike with no helmet. I used to be able to run around in a street fair without the worry someone would take me. I ran with scissors, and I played games. You know what? I survived. I thrived, not just survived. I had more fun and learned more than kids often do now a days. My parents were responsible for me. Not the public, my parents. They made the choices to decide if I could read something, they took the responsibility to raise me. I know my choices have consequences. I know if I do not work hard, I will gain nothing. There are no consolation prizes in real life. There are no graduations for being able to survive on your own.
And that freedom was gifted to me by the very people who are on the front lines, trying to protect us – the ones who fight for freedom. To have that freedom to celebrate the God I wish to know. I am not forced to believe in the God of my neighbor. Which is good, I have no idea if they believe in God, Allah, Buddha and so on. Why? It’s their right to worship who they please. My beliefs are not even the same as my family. I know this because I used to argue with both my dads all the time. One tried to use the Bible, the other history. I argued against both of them, and told them I believe my God is right, and they are just interpreting things a little more literal than he might. We all decided to have our differences, and that was it. What did we argue about? The seven days of creation.
My freedom gave me the right to argue with them, to exercise my freedom of speech. And lordy knows I like to argue my points. I like to talk, (If you haven’t noticed!) I also acknowledge that my opinions are just that. My opinions. I think differently than others. I am different than others. You are different too. If we weren’t, well the world would be really boring. What would be thrill of living?
Today is the day to remember those who fight for that right, not just for us, but for others. It is an American Holiday that is often mistaken as the beginning of the grilling season. The summer holidays are coming. The roads to Galveston were horrible. Everyone and their mothers was out to go to the beach, to get drunk, to celebrate. It is not the reason the holiday was put here.
It is to remember those who give all, so you have the right to go out to the beach and party until you are drunk. They offer themselves to the front lines of bullets buzzing by their heads to give that basic human right to others, to make sure others can do what we are doing today. They stand and take orders from people yelling in their faces, to be able to give me the right to choose if I am going to write this post and share my thoughts.
Is it too much to give a thought to those warriors? They would sacrifice their lives for you. They get paid less than someone who plays football. They come home, and suffer from the terrors of the battlefield, so we don’t have to. They get no recognition from the general public, and often have protestors around when their grieving loved ones are at their funerals.
So while you are out grilling, or whatever you are doing today, remember these facts. No matter what people think, there are consequences for each and every human right we have in America. History will repeat itself, and people will deny it. We will not learn from the past, thinking that it does not apply to the here and now. There are those who try to heed the lessons taught, and they will be unpopular. There are those who will deny that events happen when there is proof of it. And out there right now, a soldier of the United States of America is lying on a bed, in the sand, on an operating table, or breathing their last, giving you the right to disagree with me, to ignore what I say, and to believe in what you think.