I'm taking a break from all the fabulousness that is the world of professional and semi-professional sports for a moment, as today is the Fourth of July. The only day on the American Calendar where you must capitalize the full English spelling of the date. (Not to be confused with the day to be capitalized in Spanish, Cinco de Mayo.)
According to my Facebook Research, today is a day to celebrate our freedom to blow stuff up. It's also a day to celebrate another one of the age-old freedoms: to put opinions into print form. We have a freedom of speech for a reason, and that is, to use it.
It is often said that any time our nation sends our soldiers off into battle, they are fighting, at essence, for our freedom. I've not always accepted this in the literal sense, most notably, for our most recent engagements. I've never believed that the nations of Iraq nor Afghanistan have posed immediate threats to us, as nation-states. No matter, I do feel strongly that the children of our nation's soldiers should be allowed to feel proud of the work that their parents are doing, and that they should be reunited with them, permanently, as soon as possible.
In the results of our military engagements, part of the fabric of our collective freedoms were earned during the Vietnam War. The stated goal of this conflict was about fighting off the spread of communism, seen as a threat at the time, to the tenets of our own system. In the forty years since, we have seen communism, largely, perish from the political landscape of the globe, because of economic successes, rather than any from the battlefield. That said, though the end of communism was not the actual benefit we received, we've earned many freedoms because of this experience.
As Oliver Stone stated in his 'epic' film, "Platoon", we fought ourselves. We fought ourselves, and we earned precious freedoms. Decades and another few wars later, it's important to reflect on the freedoms that the fight in Vietnam earned us.
Freedom for introspection. It's okay to look forward, and it's also okay to look inside. Previous generations were not allowed this freedom. Indeed, some are still afraid to use it, but despite that, it is okay to do.
Freedom to accept. We may choose to disagree, but at heart, we are all Americans, using our freedoms. If we look inside, this is what we always find. And for that we can all be proud.
Freedom to reveal. Because we are free to accept.
Freedom to be less, and to give that much more.
Freedom to have an outward strength, and an inner strength much stronger.
Freedom to forgive. Others. And ourselves.
Freedom to love.
Many have said that we should forget Vietnam. We allowed our soldiers to fail. If we allow ourselves to forget, we fail those who fought for us, and the love that they gave our cherished nation.
We should remember. We should enjoy all of the freedoms they earned us.
And most importantly, we should celebrate.
Ride safe. I love you all.