Ever since I was a little girl, the Fourth of July has been a very important holiday for our family. I remember when I was about five years old and living in Fukaoka, Japan, our family situated itself right under the huge fireworks display so that it looked like the gleaming bright lights were coming right towards us (I seem to remember some ashes landing on my headband, but I am prone to over dramatization so I’ve never been sure if my memory was accurate!). Historically President Kennedy had been assassinated the previous November, so Itizuki USAF Base where my Dad was stationed seemed to go all out for this particular Fourth of July celebration. Even today both of my parents remember how kind and respectful the Japanese people were to them after our President’s passing. Little did I realize my father’s TTY’s were because of the nearby Vietnam War.
Today I sit in my comfortable home surrounded by the lovely accoutrements of life and have a sense of freedom that I know I would not feel as keenly on many other lands. My father’s favorite philosophy is that our country has to prove that it is the biggest baddest bear in the forest so that the other big bad bears don’t take away our freedom. On the one hand, I believe that, like the tip of an iceberg, most of us have no idea what is “really” going on behind the scenes when it comes to foreign diplomacy. And most likely, if we did know about the stuff that we are ignorant about now, it would scare us half to death. Yet, on the other hand, I wonder where all the spiritual and religious beliefs that I have studied come into play. I imagine that astronauts have a visual understanding of how we are all together here on one planet when they were able to look back towards Earth and see one big globe hanging in the sky. Wouldn’t it be nice if we figured out how to live on this planet together as best as we can without having to always one up each other?
Maybe we will never be able to do this because of territorial imperative and basic Darwinism, but what if improving ourselves as a species combined with the spiritual consideration of our planetary brethren, was an ingredient for the survival of the fittest mind and body? Today there are many young men and women over in Iraq and Afghanistan who are in the middle of a War which began when many of them were children. I’m grateful for their intent which is to keep our country’s freedom and respect; however, I hope some of them will return home and begin working on plans to explore and discover other avenues for keeping our country free and at peace that call for us all to reach for a higher place within ourselves before we begin taking action.
There’s just got to be a better way. There’s just got to be a different way. There’s just got to be a way.
Happy Fourth of July reflections….