Sunday, May 20, 2007

Home of the Brave

When I was ten, my country was at war in Vietnam.

When I was a teenager, my boyfriends were all certain they'd be drafted and sent off to die in a jungle. They were brave boys. But my country wasn't brave. From that experience we don't want to repeat the mistake of not honoring our troops again.

Now I am 52. My husband served in the US Navy on a ship taking troops to Vietnam. Today the brave boys volunteer for the military service. We send them off to far lands again. Some die. Not many. Not like Vietnam. On the home front we advertise our "support for the troops". But still, my country is not brave.

In World War II, on average, 280 US soldiers died EVERY DAY. America was brave. We wanted to free people from oppression. We were willing to pay the price. We supported our troops. We sacrificed on the home front for them. My father served in the Pacific theatre in WW II. During those awful years we buried our military dead, we buried millions of civilians in the war torn countries, but we who survived and we who were born to those who survived, we hesitate - as a nation- to sacrifice again.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Physical Arizona

Arizona actually is quite varied in it's topography as can be seen on this physical map. My home is in the south east corner, between the mountain ranges. Phoenix is the capital and it is the most populous state capital in the US. It's located close to the dead center of the state. It is much hotter in Phoenix than where I live. Most of the lakes in Arizona are man-made, including all you can see on this map. Water is everything in an arid climate like this. Arizona is surrounded by Mexico, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California. The 200 mile long Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River cutting jaggedly across the northwest corner of the state. The wide-spread use of central air-conditioning in this sunny clime has made the state attractive to new residents and it is now the fastest growing state in the USA.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Decision

Recently I was faced with a chance to do something unethical which would profit me, I would profit financially from it and there was no chance that my action would be discovered. I didn't hesitate. I said "no". The vast majority of people may say I was stupid. I brought suffering upon myself because I wouldn't "cheat." It was a win-win situation if I said "yes." So why did I say "no"?

It is popular in today's world to believe that the ends justify the means. We are taught that we have "to play the game" to get ahead. One must have a positive mental attitude. Look at the bookstores, brimming with self-help tomes. You could fill your house with words on how to achieve success.

Unfortunately, when people get that success, they find it is hollow. An astonishing number of million dollar lottery winners are broke within a few years.

So, what can we do to make our lives meaningful? I am not going to tell you to volunteer to help Africa, get religion or join a 12 step program. Those are noble. But no. I am going to tell you to behave everyday with integrity. Be patient. Treat everyone as you want to be treated. (Where have you heard that before?) I may lose financially today. But I am at peace. I'll gain riches tomorrow.