Zen and the Art of Veteran’s Day

This morning I wrote this in my diary:

I’m still pondering the ‘Who am I, really?’ question, but I’m having a hard time allowing myself to relax into the exploration because it feels so self-indulgent: ‘Well, tra la la! Look who gets to just sit around contemplating her navel when people are dying from hunger or being tortured by evil government regimes!’

However, as long as I have the luxury to do so, I will contemplate my navel without guilt. In the meantime, I intend that I pray for those who are suffering. I grok that this is the truest sense of putting on my oxygen mask first, before helping fellow passengers.

At the same time my daughter Kristina, who served in the Air Force and is married to an Air Force retiree, was posting this on her Facebook page:

I AM A VETERAN. I’m going to share something on behalf of SOME of them.

Please, instead of posting a status that thanks veterans, post something positive in your life. Please focus on your blessings that the freedom we fought for afforded you. You are free to be and do pretty much whatever, so please don’t use that freedom to complain about what isn’t good. I assure you, somewhere in the world what isn’t good to you is AMAZING to someone else.

That is what a lot of veterans KNOW. They have been to third world countries and seen the truth. They know that the poor in America have it better than the rich in other countries. It’s hard to see what freedom is allowing people to become when you’ve given your time and effort and sometimes mental health all for the benefit of those who won’t take one weekend to volunteer to read to children at an underprivileged school; to volunteer to raise money for elderly who are on fixed incomes; to volunteer to spend time with the elderly who are lonely; to volunteer to clean up local parks so kids can play without picking up the used condoms or syringes in the sand; to volunteer to be kind to someone else in traffic and let them in front of you.

So if you could take the time to thank a veteran, please post what you are thanking them for. Then please volunteer at least ONCE to make their sacrifice worth it. Seeing that the freedom we fought for goes toward bragging about the money you make and your “status” in the form of displaying your Louis Vuitton bags and other name brand items isn’t exactly what most of us had in mind.

I think most of us gave (or still give) for this country for your freedom to be yourself and to accomplish your dreams not to accomplish a nightmare. Please don’t thank a veteran if you are accomplishing/perpetuating a nightmare. I assure you, that isn’t what they did it for.

Not only do I think she makes an excellent point, I love how it ties in directly with what I was writing at the exact same time. While I abhor the fact that most war is a futile waste of life, caused by people who will never suffer like those who fight for them, I do appreciate that there are so many people who are willing to fight and die for my ability to feel safe enough to contemplate my navel.

It is my hope that my daughter’s words are shared all over the internet this weekend, in honor of Veteran’s Day. And just to make this a little more Facebook friendly, I’m adding a picture of a cat:

Here's you a cat.

Here’s you a cat.

 

Click here to donate to the Wounded Warrior Project.

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