I’m not doing anything special this Memorial Day. In some ways, the fact that the day is ordinary is more compelling than taking part in a parade or attending a barbecue, since it reminds me of how good things are for me. I have a lovely ordinary life: beautiful location; delightful community (if I downplay my politics); comfortable home in a wonderful neighborhood; healthy, beautiful/handsome children; charming dogs; good friends; and a comfortable and healthy material existence.
I do not take any of this for granted. I am grateful, of course, to my parents, for surviving their turbulent, war-torn youths and making the difficult trek to this country, where they worked hard and raised me to rise above their economically fragile existence. I’m grateful to Mr. Bookworm, a smart, hardworking man, who’s brought his energy, education, and skills to a good job that pays well. I’m grateful to America generally for still (barely) being a nation where education and hard work (and, of course, white privilege) reward us so generously.
And finally, I am deeply, deeply grateful to those Americans who made the greatest sacrifice, losing their lives on the field of battle in Concord, at Gettysburg, in Belgium, at Iwo Jima, at Normandy, and in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Without their serving and dying as the front line to defend America’s freedom, none of the people, places or things for which I am so grateful would have existed. Today may be Memorial Day, but their sacrifices are included among the blessings I religiously count every day of my life.