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Monday, May 26, 2003

We celebrate the memory today of those whose sacrifices have made our lives better. We might not agree with the politicians, but we can't deny the honor and courage of the individuals who have given their time, and sometimes their lives, for a cause.

It's no secret that I believe many recent political decisions have been misguided and have had results that are at best mixed. What the long range consequence of our actions will be cannot yet be estimated with any degree of certainty. Not supporting the policy does no dishonor and pays no disrespect to those who have acted in good faith to carry out that policy.

The greatest hope I have for the future is that the causes we fight for are worthy of the men and women we send into the battle in our name. May we exhaust every possibility for peace before resorting to war. May we learn that the sons and daughters of our enemies are sons and daughters of parents like us, and not statistical data that we use to prove the superiority of our beliefs or our weapons.

Sometimes I try to get some perspective on what it all means. Life, that is. Most of the time I think there isn't a forest at all, just a lot of trees. Life is made up of moments, of opportunities, of setbacks and steps forward that are mostly small enough to get lost in the swirl of time.

Sometimes, the setbacks become tragedies, or the steps forward turn into triumphs. We remember the days those things happen as turning points, but it's still hard to see a big picture. If we define ourselves at all, it's by the high and low points along the journey, because if we give too much significance to any one of them, we're limiting our capacity to embrace the next step.

If a great victory becomes who we are, we can become too complacent to strive for the next one, or too arrogant to think we need to keep moving forward. If we dwell too much on the sorrowful moments and let them overwhelm us, they'll drag us down and prevent us from seeking the place where we can overcome the thistles and the thorns and find the blossoms and the fruit.

There are great things to be done in this world. American soldiers and many others are still, even today, giving their lives for causes great and small. Any of us could be the instrument of a shift toward a better world for everyone, but each of us has the potential to make a small part of that world better for someone. I hope that while we're looking at the big picture we don't miss any little moments along the way.

22 May 03

Heavenly bamboo.

Life is a precious thing, and each of us has the chance to do something with our life to make the world in some way better. Whether our contribution is large or small, we owe it to ourselves and to everyone else out there making the effort not to waste the chances we're given. Even when we're forgotten in the mists of time, we leave a legacy that is in its way our own memorial. We should be mindful of the footprints we will leave behind.

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Last year on Memorial Day I talked about remembering in the context of the movie Pearl Harbor and the aftermath of September 11. Two years ago, I talked about my dad, who was a soldier in World War II. And three years ago, I apparently went to a movie.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Ahead of Time
"The most unlikable characters in Mallrats are the ones played by Shannen Doherty and Ben Affleck, and I figure if they wanted you to like those characters they would have cast somebody else."

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Nobody can tell ya
There's only one song worth singing
They may try and sell ya
'Cause it hangs them up to see someone like you