Itâ€™s easy to forget. We get up each morning to peace. Iâ€™m looking out my window now at the flowers, and birds, and walkers strolling by. They all look so free. It is all so easy.
It goes without saying that all living creatures desire freedom. In the US, freedom comes as a default; itâ€™s taken for granted.
Yesterday, my wife and some friends went to protest something they didnâ€™t agree with. They assembled without fear. I write opinion here, without fear.
Increasingly so, with the years, I have come to think more about the young people who give so much to provide us with all this freedom.
At about the same time my wife was assembling to exercise her freedom of speech, I was out riding with friends. We came across a young man on a bike with an Army kit. His face looked so young. Muscular and tall, I didnâ€™t think he would stay with our group when the road turned up. But at the top of the first climb, I looked back and there was the young face. We didnâ€™t say much; it was one of those rides where the pedaling was enough. (Those are the best rides.)
This morning I got to thinking of that young man. Will he be in a firefight in some mountain range in Afghanistan next week? Has he already?
We amble about in this country so easily, so free. Most of us do good work in our daily lives. We are doctors, teachers, businessmen and the like. Though we do a lot of good, itâ€™s another thing altogether to give your life for your country.
That is something: Young people go off to serve their country and some (too many) actually give their life.
I remember how proud I was last year at a medical meeting in Europe. My badge said, John Mandrola, MD — United States of America. I kept that badge. I look at it often.
The Americans who have given their life so that all of us can be proud and free are surely worthy of our thoughts today and every day.