Hold It Against Me

I hate rules. I have two in my home. While assembled with more than 2 people at the penthouse at 302 Court no one is allowed to discuss politics and no one is allowed to discuss religion. I bend these rules, but I rarely break them.

I have a lot of beliefs that are just me. They’re not attributed to any religion, political affiliation, creed or moral belief system. As a result the house rules were created for a similar reason to the military’s famed three on a match. You wanna stay out of the cross hairs.

A couple of weeks ago I finished David Finkel’s The Good Soliders. I don’t really blog about the books I read – but as the week has gone by I realize that I am more changed by this book than I have been since by anything I’ve read since Man’s Search for Meaning in the tenth grade.

I’ve been obsessed with both the Civil War and World War II since I was pretty young. I get excited reading about the passion, strategy and cold thinking that goes hand in hand with each battle. So many of my favorite films document internal conflict during these time periods. I always want to soak up and learn more about them and the people who lived during them. At this point, I’ve read so many different accounts and perspectives on them that I feel like I know both inside and out

I am embarassed to admit, that even though I have had friends serve in Iraq and Afghanastan, I’ve really allowed myself to ostrich my head in the sand about what is going on over there. When I saw the towers fall I made a conscious decision that I couldn’t get too involved. I hate so much about what our country is doing and what is happening right now. I’ve felt like getting too invested is risky behavior – for me.

David Finkel’s impartal account of the Surge that happened in Iraq a mere four years ago got me thinking more about patriotism than I have in ages. This book really woke me up. I recommend it as highly as I recommend Anne of Green Gables, which is to say, you must read it as it will change your life.

Even though this Memorial Day finds me doing the things I always do, I’m doing it with a fresh perspective. I’m visiting a grave. I am shedding a tear. Instead of thinking mostly of the men and women who have fought battles long ago, I am thinking about the men and women serving right now.

I am realizing more and more that they are exactly like me – as young and as hopeful, as excited about voguing along to Madonna – but strong enough to think of their country before they think of themselves. I’m more thankful than ever for soldiers who stop their lives and truly sacrifice to allow me the sanctuary of a safe home, a sound sleep and a space that still feels free.

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