May 25, 2007

A Few Practical Things to do on Memorial Day (and in the future)

Editor's note: I wrote the following essay one year ago, but it’s still current, so I’m re-posting it again this year with a few minor changes.

Taking a Moment to Reflect and Appreciate

Be a sunflower today, turn your head towards the sun. Close your eyes and take a moment to reflect on your life. Let a sense of well-being come from within. Feel alive. Appreciate you being. And, make the world a little better by doing something nice for those around you, even if some of them are far away. Isn't appreciation part of having a national holiday? Let's not forget that we're standing on the shoulders of others, who stood on the shoulders of others, and so forth. Many of those who came before (some in our own families) us and many who came after us have made lots of sacrifice, including the ultimate one.

The extended Memorial Day weekend is here along with the unofficial start of the summer in the US. This holiday is about remembering those Americans [many of them immigrants and non-citizens, like our very first casualty in this war in Iraq] who gave their lives to keep us safe and free. But, this holiday should also be about life. Sacrifices should have an altruistic purpose, a greater meaning other than the recorded casualty number—a way to make life better for those left behind. That's why we, as a nation, must be very careful when we commit our blood, sweat and tears to a cause. And, we better make sure that our leaders understand this. It’s the least we can do to honor lives lost.

I don't like big & empty proclamations, overused superlatives and fake patriotism. Actually I'm offended by persons who show little respect and appreciation for the great sacrifices ordinary people made in order to build this beautiful country of ours. The presence and/or the size of one's flag doesn't necessarily reveal a person's commitment to this country. As a matter of fact, we all know scoundrels who wear the American flag on their lapels and fly huge flags to camouflage objectives. They may want to sell us ..used cars, or schemes whereas all the sacrifices are made by us, not them! Kind like a business arrangement to set a breakfast joint between the hen and the pig, whereas one provides the eggs and the other one the ham!

Any national holiday should serve as an opportunity for us to reflect on the things that unite us and why we choose to stick together in this commonwealth. What means to be an American and what responsibilities it carries is something we ought to ask ourselves; and we ought to ask our leaders the same question more often. We have plenty of examples in our own history when the leaders failed the people. We have the power to change things for the better, but only if we're informed and engaged in the affairs of our nation. I think this is the greatest honor and a respectful memorial to those who gave their lives for us. This is the patriotic way; to protect this United States of America and enhance the lives of its people.

And speaking of life, don't forget to create nice memories every day! Don't underestimate the little good but plentiful memories; they make life interesting and provide us with happiness. Give it a try, you'll see life becoming more exciting almost immediately! Have a great summer (and more) ahead!


bw said...

Admist the smoke of the smoking mirrors and the bbq, I think many American will feel sincere graditude towards those who've sacrificed for our country.

But, I agree, we have to be very prudent when it comes to committing our precious resources to conflicts and ill-advised wars.

Anonymous said...

So, the question is: Was Bush & Co solely responsible for this current mess? I say, they have most of the blame, because they used deception, distortions, and fear. But, we the people are the enablers.

Aphrodite said...

Whenever I try to teach my kids stuff about our country, our leaders, the meaning of sacrifice, the changing times, peace and war and cold war and fighting for peace, remembering people who fought for ideals that may seem over the top now, I'm not at ease.

Not at all.

I try to teach them that the world is a good place to live in, among people who want to do good and always give something back to society.. But then I turn on the tv and here we go again...

Or I try to explain to them what it meant that their grandfather fought in a war with people we are trying now to find a way to achieve a peaceful co-existence with, since there are so many economic advantages at stake...

But if I speak to them from a contemporary viewpoint, I feel as if I am betraying my anscestors... If I try to talk about the heroism of the past, I feel I plant the seeds of mistrust that may bloom to racism or vengeance at some point later on in their lives...


So as you said andros, I'm simply trying to state facts as objectively as I can, and stress the HUMANE personality traits that may help them become better people...

And also tell them that we are all responsible, every single one of us - and every opinion counts towards making this a better place to live... even if this means making politicians wake up and smell the roses and realise these deceptive things they do cannot go on forever...

(ok, time for a big laugh, as if they will ever back off...)

Anyways, have a happy summer too!!!

(I'll most probably be here for most of the summer, too much work I'm afraid, so we'll C each other in the blogs!!!)


Andros said...

Thanks Aphrodite for the thoughtful comments. I'm not a parent, but I try to imagine what I'd tell my children about the world and their place in it.

I think all kids ought to feel unconditional love from their parents, and grow up in an environment whereas they're encouraged to develop rational and critical minds, so they can examine & understand the world around them.

You're right about teaching your children about the facts and puting things into proper perspective. Times do change. We should not be prisoners of the past....

We are here, and, hopefully, we have a future. It's up to us to make it a little better by being the change we want to see!

As for work, I'll be busy this summer too, may take a few days off in August. I find stuff to do, and often it's stuff I like doing, so I'm not complaining.

Yes, we'll see each other in the blogs! Good company is always appreciated.... And, as you very well know, there's nothing wrong with having good times and enjoying life!


PS>I'm giving a more appropriate name to my sangria recipe: Aphrodite's nectar! mmmmmmmm, yummy!

sonny said...

We don't seem to learn. We keep repeating the same mistakes. Even the rhetoric doesn't change much...just a few new names thrown into the mix.

Unless we understand we make mistakes in the present that affect our future.

asthecrowflies said...

Did you watch Al Gore on Charlie Rose last night? A full hour of an interview at the 92nd Y.

Great stuff. I'm sorry this guy isn't running for president.

Read Assault on Reason.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, yeah, Al Gore & Obama 2008! Unbeatable!

Andros said...

I will write about Al's book and its main themes as soon as I finish reading the book....

He's making important points and I like when a person is making thoughtful arguments, not appealing to the lowest common denominator!

But, he also said that it's not Bush & Co's fault... only. Who really says this today??? Rule #1: never say anything that may offend the public... not even remotely.

So, most politicians don't lead, but add to the dumbing down of our society.


anderson said...

I don't know about you guys, but I've been to 2-3 Barnes & Noble and I can't find Christopher Hitchens's book, God is not Great!

Why? too iconoclastic?

drew said...

They do have Hitch's book, you have to ask for it. It' not on display at the New Books section, nor at the Current Events stacks, etc.

Yes, it's odd, but not surprisingly so.

Aphrodite said...


Yeah, I know, you probably checked that already, but here it goes anyway...

God is not Great



It goes without saying, I WANT THE RECIPE!!! Ι'm gonna make a post about it, with full credit to our... liberal degustateur!

(unless you wanna keep it a secret, as part of your charm!)

For the record though, sangria especially hits me right in between the eyes and I faint! Drunk with just a couple of sips!!! But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone, I have a rep to protect!

Andros said...

Aphrodite said:


It goes without saying, I WANT THE RECIPE!!! Ι'm gonna make a post about it, with full credit to our... liberal degustateur!

(unless you wanna keep it a secret, as part of your charm!)

For the record though, sangria especially hits me right in between the eyes and I faint! Drunk with just a couple of sips!!! But shhhhhhhhh, don't tell anyone, I have a rep to protect!


Hmmmmm, should I make my recipe public????.... Ah, well, why not, I'm all for a culture of life, and for creating good memories to share with good people!

Charm, you say.... Why, thanks. But I hope it's my sangria that charms the senses and elevates the spirits! ;)

The most important ingredient is..............................................(ready?)...

..good company! With it, not only sangria tastes sooooo much better, but no reputations are harmed in making this product, er, in consuming it... and its aftermath!

I start with some nice red wine, though I've found it doesn't have to be the expensive kind; just don't get vinegar, OK?

Get a couple nice apples and oranges, cut them in big pieces (no seeds, because I often eat the fruit in my glass) and pour the wine into a carafe with the fruit, preferably several hours before consuming it and leave it in the refrigerator.

A little before drinking time, heat up 2 glasses of wine, slowly and add several tablespoons of sugar! Enjoy the aroma, and taste freely.... Stir over very low heat for a couple minutes. Then add it to the rest of the wine, stir.

I usually add ice cubes and a can of 7UP (diet or regular) or any other bubbly stuff. Stir. Done. Oh, start drinking!

It's the sugar and the bubbly stuff that hits you between the eyes, I reckon! Like the song goes, don't worry be happy!


PS>next time I teach a seminar, it'll include sangria! ;) [wink, wink]
And, I'll make demonstrations on proper measurements and the right combination of the complementing materials! Do you think it'll attract people?

Aphrodite said...

Sangria For Lovers!

Αργησα, αλλά μάλλον το έπιασα το νόημα γιατρέ μου!

Ζήτω η ζάλη, η πεντοζάλη, η "τι-ωραίο-το-χαλί-Μιχάλη" με το πρόσωπο στα 2 cm από αυτό...

Ευτυχώς που οι φίλοι σου δεν καταλαβαίνουν ελληνικά, μη στο μαγαρίσω το μαγαζί!



Andros said...

Αχ, Θεá μου, τι εκπληξη ηταν αυτο το αφιερωμα τουτη την ζεστή & γλυκιά Αυγουστιατικη νυχτα... Θενκ γιου.

Τι προκληση και τι προσκληση αυτη η φωτο... Φερτε μου σανγρία τωρα!

Καμια φορα σκεπτομαι, οι θεοί εκαναν το νεκταρ η το νεκταρ τους θεούς? Anyway...

Οσο για την ζαλη, ε, εξαρταται απο που προερχεται! Προτιμω εκεινη που με γεμιζει εκσταση... Εκεινη που με παει και με φερνει, που σταματα τον χρονο, που δινει ζωη, που δινει κλειδια για να ανοιξουν πορτες ηδονης!

Επειδη λοιπον ειναι θεμα perspective και αναζητησης... Και με το προσωπο 2 εκατοστα απο το χαλί ειναι δυνατο να βρεις αυτο που ψαχνεις.... Φτανει να ξερεις τι ψαχνεις...

Ακομα και το φως του μισού φεγγαριου ειναι αρκετο για αναζητησεις... Σιγουρα το ξερεις....

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