AUGUST 28, 2003 - Two more
soldiers died today.
This weekend marks the end of summer. Many of us get a
three-day weekend, will have family get-togethers or spend time with
our friends barbecuing and drinking beer (yes, conservatives
will mock the liberals for drinking imported beer, liberals will
mock conservatives for drinking overly fizzy domestic beer.).
is our chance to reflect on another summer gone by, the time at the
beach, the travels, the long days, the sunshine and warm weather.
For some, it will be the end of a summer break and time to go back
to school. For some moderate independents, it will be another
reminder that we American adults go year after year without real
vacations, as the Europeans - those who survived the heat - come
back from their months off.
Fall is just around the corner, football season, the holidays.
Millions of us will travel, and those of us who take planes will
think of 9/11, the threat that still remains, worry about stinger
missiles, drink a bit more on our flights to get through.
in the end, we will spend Monday, Labor Day, enjoying ourselves with
people we care about.
some point, I would ask each of you to take a look up at the sky,
whether it be during the day, in the dark of night, whether
the sky is gray or sunny, and think of the soldiers who are, right
as you look, sitting out in the scorching Iraqi desert looking up at
the same sky themselves.
They are 20 year old boys, 25 year old women, 35 year old fathers,
who are thinking about what it would be like to be home with their
friends and families this Labor Day. They are thinking about
how they used to look back, on Labor Day, at the summers they had
just enjoyed. They are thinking about the people they miss.
And they are thinking about the scorching, hostile conditions they
are in and the threats and challenges they face even as they look up
at the sky for a moment, and will face again the next day and the
us back home it can be easy to come to think of these people - our
brothers and sisters and friends - as just troops, as those people
talked about by the politicians, as those who are argued over, as
those who we hear about dying in ones and twos almost each and every
They are scared and they are brave. They are strong and sad
and proud and frustrated.
most importantly, they are our brothers and sisters. They are
not troops but people just like us, and they are really sitting out
in the desert day after day after day, with no end in sight.
this Labor Day, regardless of what you think of the war in Iraq,
regardless of what other activities you are caught up in, take a
moment, look up at the sky above, and say a prayer for our family
that is over in Iraq and Afghanistan and Liberia and so many other
places in the world. They are there protecting everything we
are enjoying at our barbecues. They are suffering so that
America can have new generations who will look forward to that
three-day weekend at the end of the summer. Whether or not the
missions of the moment are exactly the right ones or the strategies
perfect, these are our other selves, and we must keep them in our
thoughts, keep them in our prayers, and not forget they are there
for a single moment.
Look up at the Big Dipper - it is the same one they will see in just
a little while. Blow them a kiss - the winds will carry it
there within just a matter of hours.
then, after you have spent your moment thinking about them, said
your prayer, and blown your kiss, resolve in your heart to do
everything in your power from that moment on to ensure the best for
them. If you believe we should allow other countries some
authority so they will contribute their men and women to help the
effort, what will you do to help make that happen? If you
think our commander-in-chief has done wrong by our brothers and
sisters, what will you do - not just say, but do about it?
what will you do for the families back home who are so worried each
day, the mother who can't sleep at night because her little boy is
curled up in 120 degree heat resting before another day when a
guerilla attack might take his life. The brother of a soldier
who works as a cashier at the store where you live. The
fathers who are too proud to admit they worry.
them a gift, bring them a cake, or at least share your kind words
and words of thanks. Let them know the gratitude you have for
what they and their children are going through.
Labor Day is a day to think about the jobs we do and honor the
laborers of our country. Let's not forget the ones who are,
and will probably be or years to come, working twenty-four hours a
day to help keep the American dream alive.