"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!" -Maya Angelou
Since we don't have compulsory military service, many of us are not touched by someone serving in the armed forces on a daily basis. It can be easy to forget the huge sacrifices these young men and women and their families make. In the community I live in, the vast majority of 18 and 19-year-olds head off to college, not to boot camp. I think it's important to note that distinction (think dorm rooms versus pup tents in Afganistan). Of course, there are other communities where the majority of young people head to the armed forces. It's their ticket to a new and better life. What incredible courage and commitment to freedom it takes them, which in turn helps us sustain our democratic way of life.
I've written before how I'm acutely aware of the casualties of these men and women because their ages are often so close to the age that Matthew died-21. So I stand in solidarity with those families who had to bury a child at such an early age.
Tonight I lit a candle for the men and women who are giving so much to our country. Regardless if I agree with how our government has deployed our troops, it's important to express our gratitude for their service. I hope that we don't just think of them one day a year, but remember that they are there 365 days a year fighting for our country. Thank you veterans.
Finally, I've discovered a rather magical spot in Seattle that is worth checking out. It's called the Garden of Remembrance, and it's dedicated to the citizens of Washington State who have given their lives in service of our country. It was designed by Robert Murase and funded by Patsy Bullitt Collins and the Boeing Company. It was built in 1998. Even though it's new, it has a timeless feel to it, much like something you'd find in a European city. It's a block long on the south side of Benaroya Hall, and I've come to really appreciate the refuge it provides in the hustle bustle of the city. Here are some pictures: