Memorial Day 2012: Recharge and reflect but never forget

May 28, 2012

Hard wired into our human DNA is that no matter how big, how small, what sex, skin color or national origin, we all need a battery recharge now and again to keep from draining ourselves out of existence.

This time last year Joplin was digging out from under devastation unimaginable if you were not here, incomprehensible if you were, and unforgettable to all. This past week was the first year ‘anniversary’ (aren’t anniversaries supposed to be ‘happy’?) and with it came all the memories of that most terrible of times.

A recharge was needed now more than ever.

With Table Rock Lake only two hours away the decision was made. The memorial weekend of bbq and brew would be replaced with three days of mornings on the deck, floats on the lake, and evenings retired early.

Day one is done and as day two is starting the “recharge” is starting to take hold.

As I sip my coffee and pound out this column, the sun is rising, the birds are wakening, the breeze is lifting up to the deck, and the lake is emerging from its nightly slumber. A “recharging” moment if ever there was one.

In a few hours the silence will be broken by the sound of marine engines, the water will be dotted with hundreds of craft, and thousands of “capitalists” from every income percentage group will be living their lives.

As a political columnist I am never more than one sound bite away from the “did he/she really just go there?” And the “go there” for the past weeks has been the Obama campaign’s constant attack against capitalism, free markets and the foundational principles that keep this nation the great one that she is.

I saw those forces in action yesterday in a clarity not seen in quite some time. Mile after mile of shoreline, cove after cove, revealed house upon house, cottage upon cottage, condo after condo overlooking a lake fast filling with power boats, water craft and even the occasional sailboat.

Each and every one of those abodes, each and every one of those floating pleasure craft had in it, on it or behind it a former, current or future capitalist.

I marveled at the billions upon billions of economic activity that has been generated by this one project in just a little more than 50 years.

From the teenage dockhands beaming with pride for the chance to earn their summer spending money to the yacht owner spending what has already been made, this lake is home to every strata of American life.

Excepting a winning lottery ticket magically appearing upon my doorstep, I accept the reality of my life that I will never be in the “1 percent” of Americans who are so easily vilified by some today.

Yet I’m not angry. I’m not envious. I don’t spend every minute of every hour of every day plotting and scheming as to how I can use the force of government to tear down and take from others that which is not mine nor which I did not earn.

I do not delude myself with a morning devotional each day of “if it only weren’t for those evil “1 percenters” I’d have more for myself. That type of devotion is more than factually wrong and intellectually dishonest, it is a danger to us all.

The magic of the American economy is that it is not baked into a “one size fits all” dish with only a certain number of pieces available. Wealth in this country is dynamic, not static. Want a bigger piece of the pie? No problem, we’ll bake a bigger pie.

Rather than demonizing the only economic system to have lifted more out of poverty than any other in human history, the President and his allies on the left should just remove themselves from the kitchen and let the rest of us get to work.

But out here there is no obsession with percents.

Out here lives the true American spirit not mentioned in the political ads trying to divide us or taken for granted by those too busy to care.

The desire to just live free and be left alone. The core belief that just being American is enough and the rest will take care of itself. (If the politicians and bureaucrats would just stop mucking it up that is.)

And yet as simple as “just live free and be left alone” sounds, we also know out here that none of it would be possible without the blood, sweat and sacrifice by those who came before us.

We understand that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction” is not just a phrase, but a proven truth and we live accordingly.

We respect our military and we honor their sacrifice, for we know that without them there is no freedom to live.

We know “memorial day weekend” is more than fun in the sun and brats on the grill.

So wherever you are this weekend, whatever you’re doing, whomever you’re with, please take just a moment will you, and give thanks and a prayer.

Thanks for those uniforms scattered around the world that we here at home may gather; a prayer for the souls of those gone before and for those serving today.

Take a moment to reflect upon what courage it must have taken those many years ago to put your name to paper and pledge your life to but one word: “freedom”.

But don’t take my words for it, watch the video.

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One Response to Memorial Day 2012: Recharge and reflect but never forget

  1. anson burlingame on May 28, 2012 at 8:56 am


    You missed another observation at Table Rock Lake, or in the vicinity of such this weekend. Check out my post on the Bluefish reunion held at the Welk Resort. One of the participants were two men that served thereon over 35 years ago as “courpse men”, the very highly trained medical practioners for the crew of 120 men, just as an example.



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