I recently visited the Pentagon. Now, I will give you all just a moment to revel in the irony of this pacifist, hippie-chick roaming the halls of the Pentagon. Okay … are you back now? Don’t get me wrong – if pushed to the wall, even I would concede that we don’t (yet) live in a Utopian world and as much as I wish we could all be like Costa Rica, yes, perhaps there is indeed a need for America to have armed forces (for defensive purposes ONLY). And I have due respect for many of the fine, bright, dedicated women and men who serve in the military. I thank them for their service and their dedication to making this country a better place. (And my brother-in-law was just promoted to Navy Captain – no easy feat – and I am way proud of him!)
But while we are on the topic of independence, I also want to thank the legions of Americans who I feel are equally important to our independence and to our freedom. They are teachers, farmers, doctors and nurses, scientists who are researching cures for cancer, AIDS and swine flu. They are police officers, fire fighters, people who work at community non-profit agencies and provide meals to the elderly, heat to the poor and assistance to domestic violence victims. They are volunteers at food pantries, they take rape crisis calls and offer hope to people in crisis on suicide hotlines. Many of these people do what are often low-paying jobs, often without the benefits, pension or adequate health insurance that they deserve. But they do it, because they too, are dedicated to making this country a better place.
They don’t wear uniforms, they don’t get parades in their honor and they probably will never have a street or a bridge named for them. But wouldn’t it be nice, every now and then, to honor our peaceful warriors right alongside the men and women who serve in our nation’s military?
Enjoy your independence and use it for good!