This past weekend, I’d describe as very pensive.
Don & I visited the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.
It was a place of grandeur that provoked many emotions for the both of us. I didn’t take many pictures of the Memorial Walls or the Cemetery because in all honesty I thought it would be disrespectful. Instead, I spent some time taking in the surroundings and trying to understand and appreciate the lives and the sacrifices that this Memorial represents.
When you are visiting a place like the National Memorial of the Pacific or the USS Arizona Memorial – you put your politics aside. To put it quite bluntly, if you do not you are merely showcasing your personal immaturity by downplaying the seriousness of a matter that has shaped the very life you lead today. No doubt, without the sacrifices these men made, life would be quite different for you and me had they not been willing to give the greatest sacrifice.
When you are standing above this Memorial Cemetery, overlooking the graves that are situated into the dormant “Punchbowl” crater you are instantly overwhelmed. There is a strong breeze coming down from the surrounding mountains and you are left to reflect on the many lives that lay before you.
As I thought of the lives that rested at this place, I couldn’t help but be shaken with a sense of urgency to be a part of this world – to make an impact. These people did not settle for mediocrity. They answered a call for service. They wanted more than to wait for someone else to fix the problem.
So often I find myself talking and not doing. I complain about how difficult it is to finish my thesis, and I forget that the whole reason I started writing it was because I saw a problem that needed fixing, and I wanted to do something about it.
I guess the point I am getting at is that I want to be one of those people who do something. It’s easy to comment on the state of the world from your couch. It’s easy to give the homeless man a dollar bill and feel good about yourself for the rest of the day. It’s easy to go to school for something you once were passionate about and then settle for a job as a bank teller because the job market sucks and volunteering for something you care about doesn’t pay (*speaking from experience).
Well I took a lesson from my visit to the Memorial – actually I learned a lot but I’d only like to share this one.
There are people in this world who have a sense of purpose, a sense of duty and a set of personal ethics that drive them to commit their lives to something greater than themselves.
And I want to be one of those people. When I decided to study Political Science, it wasn’t because I was good at debating, or because I loved domestic politics (because I really can’t stand “politics”), it was because I’d spent most of my youth as a casual observer, an occasional commentator, and an ultimate consumer – and I wanted to change that. I might have lost sight of that motivation somewhere along the way, but I’m once again realizing why I’m here. I want to make a difference, I want to “be the change you want to see“. So with that I’ve re-focused my path and I feel better knowing that than if I’d just landed a six figure job.
In closing I thank the individuals, today and in history, in war and in peace, in politics or in protest, that stood for what they believed in – because it’s certainly not the easy way.