Confehr: Memorial Day's the right time to reflect

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today, a foursome: What's goin' on Memorial Day; What's my reason; How Marshall is ahead of the pack; and more on signs.

Memorial Day marks the start of summer vacation season. It really commemorates U.S. soldiers who died in military service. I was asked to speak on Lewisburg's public square Monday. Of course I said yes. Veterans want to know how this member of the Fourth Estate feels about their comrades' sacrifice.

Our editorial cartoon today expresses my sentiment in less than 1,000 words.

Between my father's grave and the Pentagon is a monument to those who died there on Sept. 11, 2001. Dad worked there during the Cold War. He was a reservist -- ready if those in jobs there had to go over there.

He and I saw things differently during the Vietnam War. He saw the Domino Theory from a larger perspective. He survived Wall Street during the Great Depression as an auditor requiring cash up front so if his report said they're broke, he'd be paid. With that experience, Dad knew the strength of America's economy. He explained if Vietnam wasn't the first domino to fall, the strength of capitalism would outlast Communist states that don't reward people working for themselves.

I believe in Americans' ability to think on their own, regardless of their situation. I grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with news coverage, if not my own witness, of antiwar demonstrations. I didn't burn my draft card. My lottery number was too high to be called. I believe our troops' ability to think on their own helped the Allies win World War II. Another example: one of our soldiers on the Isle of Grenada telephoned home to get his wife to relay information. That's in contrast with German soldiers just following orders.

Now, our military needs creative thinkers, those who can speak foreign languages, and technicians. The enemy we face is different, as we've known for nearly a decade.

Because of national security, I can write these things and we can do things that contribute to our quality of life and our democracy's strength.

Two examples:

* Years ago the Marshall County Community Theatre was created from the old Dixie movie house. Now, there's an ongoing fundraising effort to reopen the Franklin Theater, and Columbia residents want to recover their movie theater as an entertainment venue. Kudos to the vision of residents here. Such work needs a stable economy and a safe environment.

* Folks are still fighting over city election campaign signs. That's good, even though results came in 25 days ago. The latest: the re-elected councilman's opponent still had signs up after the incumbent took his last billboard down. Others, however, say the challenger's signs were stolen during the campaign and thieves put one back up at the poll as revenge over SignGate.

Ain't America wonderful? This weekend, let's honor those who fought and died to preserve it, regardless of how thoughtful and wacko it is here in this earthly paradise.

These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.