As we close in on Memorial Day, the time America has set aside to honor the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom, a controversy rages.
Politicians are using yet another tragedy to once again try to make political hay for their party. The Republican Party is aghast that on-duty diplomats were killed in Benghazi. The Democrats are fighting back by saying that attacks on our embassies have occurred under both parties’ control of the White House.
Who gives a damn? The fact is that Americans are out in the world trying to make it a better place, and tragedies happen, whether by rebel groups trying to change their own society, or by terrorists targeting our diplomatic and military missions.
The important point is that inspired men and women have lost their lives in the pursuit of something greater than themselves and they deserve to be honored for their efforts and sacrifices. How many of us even try to do something that changes the world, let alone pays anywhere near such a high price?
For most of us, this coming weekend means barbecues, time with friends and family and the traditional start of summer. Retailers have used this weekend as a reason for people to spend money on a new barbecue, redo the landscaping in the backyard and buy new summer outfits.
I will be going away this weekend for four days to be disconnected from the Internet, my cell phone and the stresses of regular life. I’m going to the mountains of Malibu to celebrate the weekend with 300 other men. There will be workshops teaching people how to tie-dye and seminars on how to engage my aura. I will be giving my presentation on how to write and publish a book in 90 days, which was a great success this past weekend at Blogpaws, the pet bloggers social media conference in Tysons Corner, Va.
This weekend in the mountains is about getting back in touch with what it means to be a man. For me, my weekend in the mountains is not about hierarchies, whether they are financial, educational, social, or military. I was never in the military, so I have no standard by which to measure how this unorganized group of men compares with a strict hierarchy of the military. I do know that I find the camaraderie and the friendships made to be highly satisfying. This weekend is about being one of many. When 300 men gather and they are all volunteers, it is an interesting experience to witness how much they can do and how little friction there really is.
I imagine that for those who were in the military and have felt the pressures of combat their sense of camaraderie must be much stronger, their friendships much deeper and their love for one another much greater, which means that their sense of loss must be greater also.
This coming Monday, May 27 at 11 a.m., Woodlawn Cemetery holds its 75th annual ceremony of remembrance for those lost in combat and interred there. Veterans and families will gather to honor and remember their fallen fellows.
That is the real point of this weekend. This weekend is about remembering what it took to found our nation, and what it takes to protect our nation, but also about the individuals who sacrificed their lives for those of us still living.
So this coming weekend as we enjoy our hamburgers and corn on the cob, as we lay on the beach and work on our tans, I urge you to take a moment and reflect on those who have sacrificed for us.
If you are an active duty service member, or you are a vet, I want to thank you for the work you’ve done, and let you know that I am sorry for the loss of your fellows. Whether you were a general or a private, whether you saw frontline combat or stayed on a base in Kansas, the role you played was needed and appreciated.
To all the service members, let me say thank you. You are not forgotten. You are appreciated.
David Pisarra is a divorce and child custody lawyer specializing in father’s and men’s rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra