Being outside of your comfort zone and in touch with the world
Over Memorial Day Weekend I couldn’t help but think: what does this all mean to local moms and dads on their way to birthday parties, work, and other day to day rituals in the Valley? Perhaps in 2004 we are aware of the war in Iraq, but only on a moment-to-moment basis if our family is serving there or attached in some personal way.Today, this column is devoted to making these issues meaningful to all of us on a day-to-day basis, 365 days a year. Freedom isn’t free. Sacrifice was the price.My dad emailed me from Iowa over Memorial Day weekend, his comments staunch, opinionated, and somewhat exasperated. He wrote: “In Iowa we say our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.” He seemed motivated to speak out, as though frustrated by lives left untouched by what war is and what tough decisions have been made to keep us free. Recent criticism of the U.S. seemed to have been enough for him.I am guilty of being unattached to the war, Al-Quida threats, etc Are you? Truly, I see myself as politically aware, opinionated but only when I have the time to be so! Dance class, soccer practice, swim lessons, karate, and maybe even the chance for an occasional shower are my primary daily thoughts as a busy local mom on the go.My dad honed me into more primeval thoughts. The freedom to go about my daily routine for our family is priceless. While driving through downtown Eagle tonight, looking at the “yellow park” as local kids call the park by the county building, I thought of my grandfather who was a Lt. Marine in WWII stationed on Woje Island in Japan. He was shot down and his hand crippled for life. And then there was the memory of my dad, who never would join in the laughter in the room if he heard the sitcom M.A.S.H. on T.V. As a teenager concerned about my horse and cheerleading, I didn’t understand why he didn’t think it was so funny. Perhaps his avoidance was due to nearly dying in a Mash unit suffering from snakebite and an allergy to the antivenom. He served as an Army Lt. In the DMZ in Korea.Do we tell our children of their family’s military past? Do our kids know that we are privileged to live in a country where our rights and liberties have been maintained by those who have lived and gone before us and who have preserved our freedom? Or do we worry more about the more mundane but oh-so-important-at-the-time tasks of keeping our lives tidy and right? Have we done our 20-minute reading for school tonight, figured out show and tell for tomorrow, found the library book that is due, etc? STOP! Tonight I have a suggestion for a new assignment of the utmost importance.Carve out five minutes from the day and talk to your kids about your family’s military lineage. This is not a discussion of politics, conservative or liberal. This is genealogy. History at it’s best. How did your family play a role in making the world as it is now?As the discussion went with my little boy tonight, I learned more about my own unanswered questions of the past. As my son listened, I wrote down mental notes of queries to ask my dad about out ancestors. Thoughts on this Memorial Day passed from my dad onto me. As dad said: “Our national security, a strong economy, and preservation of the freedoms assured to us in the Bill of Rights are thoughts on my mind this Memorial Day.”As you read the local headlines and the possibility of al-Qaida being sighted in Avon, did you think about what the terrorists have done to affect your life in the valley? Terrorist groups have a new sense of direction, which is a threat to our country. It does affect us all, daily. It is the world in which we live. VTElizabeth H. Chicoine lives in the Valley and writes about issues important to the family for the Vail Trail. She can be reached for comment at ElizChicoine@cs.com.