Thursday, December 30, 2010

Arriving Somewhere

The year is nearly done, the race is almost run. For many of us, all that's left is the settling up of the tab for the year, with your significant other, your boss, your bank, your neighbors and family and friends. Maybe a foggy memory or two of this time last year and how bad things had been and the hope that the coming year would be better. Whoa. How'd that work out, eh?

Hard to believe for so many of us this will some day be part of the Good Old Days. Sure seems like there's something wrong with that idea, right? I mean, don't you feel like we've been running in place in a bowl of soup? We're not even leaving a hole with each footfall-it just fills in as quickly as we lift our heel up and out to place it forward again.

We keep waiting for things to turn around. When they do, somehow they don't. Earlier this week there was a report that the private sector in the US added 1.4 million jobs, overseas. So that adage about what's good for General Motors and the economic well-being of the Land of the Free is really and truly from another time, I suppose. And no matter how hard we try, we can't make it here anymore.

I could apologize if I'm harshing your buzz or, perhaps, your plans for tomorrow night but I won't because I wanted to keep something between you and your End of Year intentions so today is that day. I just want to make sure all of us calculate the total cost of a lifestyle that, for us in recent years may have seemed to grow harder, but is still the desire and dream of many people all around the world. And don't think for a minute, whatever we've paid is too much because it isn't, but if we're alive to write this and read it, we've gotten off light.

We began as a place of refuge in locales as diverse as Virginia and the Massachusetts Bay Colony, becoming thirteen settlements hugging the Atlantic Coast. It took us a century, and more, to cross the Mississippi, reach to the Pacific Northwest, to the Great Southwest and on to the coast of California and to both the Aleutian and the Hawaiian Islands. We fought natives, the British, one another and too many others as we reinvented ourselves to reflect people of every race, color, creed. It wasn't easy and was often less than popular but it was always the right thing to do.

Half a world away, today and every day, we have the flower of a generation, the crown of creation-whatever turn of phrase you come up with to make yourself feel good about people whose reports of service take up seconds a night on the evening news-squared off against as implacable a foe as this nation has faced in its history, and most of us in this country don't know, don't care and/or don't want to know. In case, you thought their sacrifice was forgotten because it seemed to be hidden, it wasn't. You, too are a witness.

"Never trust the sound of rain upon a river." No one steps into the same river twice as both you and the river have changed. For all those whose final steps of 2010 were forfeiture of their lives in defense of ours, let's promise one another to all do better, together, in the next year.
-bill kenny

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