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A Thank You Note


One of the most defining characteristics of existentialists is a certain contempt or ridicule for death, considering the disadvantages of death being over-rated and the advantages of death being under-rated.  For example, the disadvantage of death is missing life, which is over-rated . . . while the end of suffering is under-rated.  That fairly describes my belief . . . 364 days each year.

Somehow, that doesn’t apply on Memorial Day.  At some point today, I will have a tear in my eye.  It may happen at a ceremony in memory of those who died for us.  It may happen when I simply look at the flag.  It will certainly happen when I remember some of my Army buddies who paid the price for my great life, and I will speak their names one more time.

A reverence for those who pay the ultimate price is not new in history.  The ancient Aztecs believed there were seven levels in Heaven, with the highest level reserved solely for women who died in childbirth and men who died in battle.  (I don’t know what happened after the Vietnam War, when we somehow forgot to remember?)

To those who died, I try to remember that the only advantage of your death was to pay the cost of freedom for the rest of us.  Thank you.  I will never forget you.

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