Last week was Memorial Day, a time intended for deep reflection on the loss of fallen soldiers. It can be that, but mostly it isn’t. Instead it’s another day to promote sales on mattresses or enjoy a long weekend of barbecues. For me it involved a lot of gardening and the construction of a small container pond in the back yard as well as exploring possible greenhouse designs for an upcoming project.
As I wandered the garden supply shop I turned and saw a young man in shorts, a T-shirt, and a baseball cap. He was clearly a veteran. He was smiling and obviously very happy. His family was all around him. It was a pleasant scene. They were out enjoying a beautiful sunny day amid the water hyacinth, lotus, and Japanese maples. Except every part of him was terribly burned from his face to his extremities and both his hands and forearms were missing. I was confronted by the reality of the consequences of military service.
Cut to the long rows of waving flags and a giant inflatable bald eagle dressed in stars and stripes on the side of the highway. The auto dealership beckoned patriotic Americans to come and buy.