As we celebrate those many citizens who have served and still are serving our country so nobly in the military this Memorial Day 2010, I think of the many freedoms we now enjoy as a direct result of the terrible sacrifices many in uniform have made to preserve those freedoms, and what an enormous debt of gratitude we all owe them. Besides the many parades, picnics, dinners, memorial services, programs, recreation and entertainment activities we will engage in with our family and friends as a form of experiencing this holiday, we should all pause and reflect on what those freedoms mean to us individually, and how our lives would be immeasurably altered without them.
With major emphasis this weekend honoring the fallen, it is also important to remember the living brave men and women currently fighting two wars; one, hopefully, in the last stages; the other in who knows what stage, as it has now passed the landmark of being the longest continuous war in U.S. history. While I, like others, listen to the general explanations as to why we are funneling so much of our treasure, reputation and manpower in Afghanistan, I still do not have a complete understanding of why we are there and what the true strategy for victory is, given the abysmal attempts and failures of so many other countries before us beginning with Alexander the Great in 330 BC. You can also add to the many known difficulties of geography, weather, tribalism, drugs and questionable internal politics in that country an apparent rift that now exists between the State Department and the military over what TIME correspondent Joe Klein terms the absence of a "civilian surge" of personnel to support the military in winning over the hearts and minds of the native people in various hot provinces around Afghanistan.
So, in pondering a clear explanation of the current situation, consider the following:
"I am going to speak about strange places that many of them never heard of - places that are the battleground for civilization.... I want to explain to the people something about geography - what our problem is and what the overall strategy of the war has to be. I want to tell it to them in simple terms of ABC so that they will understand what is going on and how each battle fits into the picture.... If they understand the problem and what we are driving at, I am sure that they can take any kind of bad news right on the chin." Sound relevant to today? In fact it was the instruction given by President Franklin Roosevelt to his speechwriters preparatory to his famous Fireside Chat on February 23, 1942, which had an adult listening audience of almost 80% of the population, to explain to a restless public the many difficulties of WWII at that point. Maybe it is now time for President Obama to have his Fireside Chat to Americans for the very same reason.
Just a reminder: The Little Rock Film Festival starts next Wednesday, June 2nd and continues through Sunday, June 6th. Go to http://littlerockfilmfestival.com for more info. In regard to films, if you want to see a near flawless movie put CITY ISLAND on your list. Great cast, wonderful story set in its namesake New York location with a pull-everything-together, feel good ending. It's time well spent.
Laura Raborn at http://paintingsofhome.com and http://claygifts.com
Jim Johnson at http://yessy.com/jimjohnson/gallery.html
Russ Powell at http://powellphotos.com
Linda Flake at http://lindaflake.com
Tom Herrin at http://tommysart.blogspot.com
Matt McLeod at http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Artists Registry at http://www.arkansasarts.org/programs/registry/default.aspx
Barry Thomas exclusively at Ellen Golden French Antiques in the Heights
Local Colour Gallery at http://localcolourgallery.com
Chroma Gallery at http://chromagallery.com
Cantrell Gallery at http://cantrellgallery.com
Greg Thompson Fine Art at http://gregthompsonfineart.com