MONDAY, MAY 31st.
Memorial Day. Day 386 of CPT Patti's deployment. One year, 20 days.
I watched the national Memorial Day Concert on TV this morning. It featured the National Symphony, the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs. Some actors, some singers. And some amputees from the Global War on Terror.
It was moving. It was disturbing. It seemed as if we tried really hard on this Memorial Day to make it into a day of meaning.
By watching I learned the story of the milkshake man...a previous war (Vietnam?) amputee who volunteers on the amputee ward at Walter Reed. Milkshakes are apparently the superficial center of his ministry to those suffering the same fate as he has endured.
It was moving, but it was hard to watch. See...my darling wife is not yet home safe. I was proud, watching this concert. And I wept. Sitting here alone in my apartment, I wept. Yes...I believe in what we are doing. And I am proud of my wife's service. But I wonder...when less than 250,000 soldiers out of 290,000,000 Americans has served in Iraq, just how invested in this is the average American? Where I have given the last 13 months of my marriage to this effort and many Americans haven't given it 13 minutes of serious reading or contemplation, I can't help ask myself why our investment when others are not willing, though they exploit the freedoms my investment ensures.
Later in my TV day (remember, we are six hours ahead of the east coast. Noon for us is 6:00 am in New York) I see Katie Couric interviewing the Milkshake Man. And I am annoyed. She puts the Milkshake man on the same hurried timeline that stupid show puts all their guests. Moreover, I wonder where has she and her stupid show been all this time. The Milkshake Man has been available...but couldn't be put on the show because they needed the time for stories about prison abuse.
I'm deeply annoyed that Katie Couric treats the Milkshake Man as the story du jour simply because today is Memorial Day. For those of us actually invested in America's defense, every day is a day to contemplate the gravity of the situation. We don't need some red-letter day on a calendar to remind us. In a time of war the vacant side of the bed every evening and morning reminds us.
I switched channels. Tuned to ABC. Diane Sawyer and Charles Gibson were interviewing the medical doctor who has been ABC's medical reporter for as long as I can recall. Apparantly he's just released a book. And in it apparantly he declares himself a follower of Christ. And now he's being given the Five-Minute-Interview - same as if he were a member of the Manson gang. He's being treated as if he is a novelty. And this really annoys me because he isn't a novelty...he is a citizen of the America I Live In. But this is the state of the media today. A well-to-do man follows his convictions about helping the downtrodden and giving to the poor and these two talking heads want to profile him as if this is something newsorthy.
Point is - being a Christian is still in the majority in The America I Live In. Check the statistics and you will find the less well-to-do give more to charity in this country than any other group. So where has ABC News been that this doctor is "novel"? Beats me. It's life as usual in the America I Live In.
Today has been an emotional day for me. I feel as if more of America should be holding my hand day in and day out. In reality it feels as if the fraction of the population who are actually invested in the Global War on Terror are all holding each others hands...and a large percentage are holding nothing but politically motivated signs indicating "Bush Lied" and "No Blood For Oil".
And in a weak moment I resent the right that those on the less-than-informed-side have to hold and wave the flag. I feel about that as I occasionally feel about my smile. My parents paid the money to put me in braces. Me? I've been all too willing to smile without thinking about the costs of that nearly perfect smile. Just taking advantage of it. Pretty arrogant, I'd imagine my folks would think as I attempt to rip into a ball of twine with my teeth.
So...all this I encounter today. And then I go read Mark Steyn's column. And I think this country could use a larger bit of investment. Because lack of investment, but enjoyment of the fruits results in some very lazy and ignorant citizens who have no idea of the actual costs.