Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb. North Korea torpedoed a South Korean ship without provocation. War rages in Iraq and in Afghanistan.
So on and so forth it goes.
Two hundred twnety-four years as a country and never more than 20 or 30 years between the next war. We send the young, and disproportionately the poor, and sometimes our all to fight a war to settle disputes between graying leaders.
Disputes for which the young played no part, and for which they'll receive no gain. But, it is their blood we spill in the desert sands, festering jungles and tropical beaches.
Out the kitchen window she gazes, while absent mindedly washing a cup. She remembers the painful delivery foretold by the book of Genesis, his first words, his first steps, and the day she got the news he'd be sent over there.
Not a day goes by that she doesn't think, and worry, and pray he'll be OK.
Each ring of the phone, no matter the time quickens the heartbeat, a lingering fear this could be the call that ends it all. Time moves in a hurry as we grow older, but not while he is over there. While he is there, it creeps along taking its sweet, sweet time.
In a few days, you'll be cooking burgers by the pool, sipping iced tea, or a six-pack of beer. Maybe you'll be skiing at the river or sunning at the beach, perhaps laughing with friends and telling the same tired old stories. It is just another day off, an extended weekend holiday vacation.
A little free time with the ones you love, doing what you love, except this one wasn't free. It is already bought and paid for by the boys and, yes, sometimes girls, who did not make it home.
And, while you're enjoying the festivities, watching your ball game, playing golf or just sleeping in late, she, too, will have plans for the evening. She'll be in a plain, open, green field, perfectly and neatly adorned in rows of white crosses, or in a small wooded cemetery at the edge of the church. You see, the call that ends it all came calling. She couldn't wish it away. She couldn't pray it away. Now it is here, right here to stay.
While you celebrate please take a minute to reflect. It isn't free.
It doesn't affect just the one who died. They didn't die so we could bail out car companies or buy new video games. They didn't die to remove prayer from school, or to give free health care to everybody.
They died for freedom. They died in a place they did not ask to go, against an enemy they did not know, at the order of a president they never met.
Make sure it was not in vain. Stand up for freedom before it's too late. Let those who lost the most know you're thankful for their family's sacrifice. And most of all, pray it is never you who gets the call.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.