Late Night Thoughts

The past three weeks or so have flown by for me in the blink of an eye.  But relaxing at home tonight for the first time in a while, I get the feeling that life is once again moving forward.  I love the west coast, especially San Diego, but it really misses one thing, seasons.  Yes, the weather there does change, it goes from 85 and not a cloud in the sky during the summer to 70 and not a cloud in the sky after 10am in the winter.  Besides that, there’s very little change.

Seasons for me have always provided the feeling that life is moving forward, they are a way to mark time and progress in your life.  Maybe progress isn’t the right word, but then again, maybe it really is.  During my time out west in school I often felt that each day bled into the next, year after year.  I had an amazing time, and received a top notch education, but I really did miss the feeling of the changing seasons, the feeling that things were moving on.

The spring here in New York is too short.  By the time you realize it’s warm out, it’s 95 degrees and 100% humidity.  Even the weather moves quickly here.  As I sat on the beach this weekend out on Fire Island, life was slow, it was the calm before the storm when time seems to stand still.  I knew it was the end of something and the beginning of something else.  There are times in your life when you can just feel that you’re moving forward.

The ferry ride from Fire Island back to the mainland is always a wake up call for me.  You’re literally sailing back into reality, back to cars, back to noise, back to work, back to the city.  The island is so removed from reality is many ways that it’s easy to get lost out there, one of the reasons I love the place so much.  In many ways it’s like being transported back in time, no cars, just bikes, when you walk by someone on the street you say hello, you know half the people in town, it’s small town life.  But the ride back hit me hard tonight, it felt the beginning of something new.

On another note…

Today is Memorial Day, the day when we honor our fallen soldiers along with all who have served in our defense.  It goes without saying that we should respect and be grateful for those which have served in our defense, regardless of the fight.  Each of us may not always agree with the decisions of our government when it comes to matters of war and peace, as we shouldn’t in a good democracy.  But in my mind, no matter the fight, I’ll always respect those men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line.

Some say that those soldiers are out in the field fighting for our freedom, but it’s really much bigger than that.  Our military provides the necessary stability which allows the global economy to function.  To all of those who would rather us bring our kids home from far away bases around the world, think for a few minutes about what it means to have their stabilizing presences in that region and what it may look like without them.  Look at the regions of this world without a large presences of American servicemen, their political systems and level of economic development.  Our military is the tip of the globalization spear.

War is a messy business, but a necessary tool at times.  But leaders must always weight the expected gain / loss of blood, treasure, and honor when going to war.  There are not many instances in our American history when we’ve failed at this arithmetic, and when we have, it has cost us dearly.  I believe now is one of those times when the balance of risk / reward is not in our favor, I’m speaking about our presence in Afghanistan.  I won’t rehash my arguments here, you can search for them on the blog.  But to all of those soldiers wondering exactly what they are fighting for over there, you’re not alone, and although a soldier doesn’t necessarily deserve an answer to that question, for he is a soldier and required to take orders no matter the mission, it is our job to ask those questions for him.

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