I hate making suggestions for what other people should do or think. It’s just an obnoxious thing to do. If there’s one thing I think we could all use less of, it’s people telling us what we should and shouldn’t do, think, and be.
Luckily, when I give advice, it never fails to be inspiring and breathtakingly helpful. And good thing, too. Otherwise, I might ever be mistaken for one of those intrusive, overbearing, judgmental windbags who are forever telling people what’s really best for them.
Here’s my advice for what to do today, Memorial Day 2008: Do not go to the beach. Do not drink beer. Do not make a point of in any way enjoying the fact that you have a day off work.
Instead, spend the day being emotionally devastated over all the young, strong American soldiers who have ever been killed in war. Think of the men who have lain awake through the long, dark night, knowing that at dawn they would charge and die. Think of all the soldiers who so readily put the lives of others ahead of their own. Who gasped their last on foreign soil. Who so believed in what America stands for that they considered it an honor to die for it.
Well. That is an awful lot of pain to spend a whole day on.
So I’m changing my advice. Spend as much time as you can emotionally bear on our awesomely brave champions, our passionate patriots, our beloved defenders who in their prime purposefully and willfully gave their all.
And then have that beer, if you want. Go to the beach. Joyfully celebrate the life and freedom for which so many strangers to you — so many brothers and sisters of yours that you never met — traded their lives.
Here’s to them all. I hate to think of what my life would be without them.