"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day 2008

Another Memorial Day is here, and hopefully at some point this weekend while we're enjoying our BBQ cookouts and celebrating the unofficial start of summer, we will remember to honor those who have lost their lives in service to our country. We pay our respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in all the wars the U.S. has fought throughout its history, but the casualties in Iraq are foremost in the minds of many Americans this weekend.

No matter your political stripe or level of support for the war itself, you must admit that over the last five years and counting, those who have suffered most during this conflict (besides the Iraqi people themselves) have been the individual U.S. soldiers who have put their home lives on hold while simply trying to do the job they've been assigned as best as they can. It's dirty, difficult, dangerous work, with the constant risk of injury and death; and as do many others, I make a huge distinction between our troops who voluntarily put themselves on the line every day, and the politicians and policies that continue to needlessly place them in harm's way.

Here's one small way to help. Have you ever passed by someone in uniform in a store, on the street, or in an airport and wanted to thank them for their service, but didn't know how? Perhaps you were hesitant to start what could become an awkward conversation for either of you. Instead, you can wordlessly express your appreciation with something called "The Gratitude Gesture." It's easy; just place your hand over your heart momentarily, then keeping your elbow in place, extend your hand down, palm up. It takes maybe a second, and it's becoming universally recognized as a symbol of respect and appreciation by civilians toward service men and women in public. It's not military, like a salute, and it's non-partisan, non-political, and non-judgmental. It simply says "thanks". And people don't say that enough anyway.

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