Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Holidays

There is no Demotivational Friday today, despite a bevy of mean spirited anti-holiday humor floating around in my head. Instead, I offer up a picture of my little brother, who is currently serving as a combat medic, attached to a Marine division fighting in central Iraq.


As you can tell from the very large and M40A3 sniper rifle slung over his shoulder, combat medics don't just save the lives of their buddies on the front line. They fight right alongside them.

My brother voted for Bush, and supported the war. He enlisted in the Navy, and volunteered for combat duty. He is 20 years old, and he has already fought in battle, killed the enemies of our country, and saved lives.

You might be wondering what I think about my brother's choices. After all, I am a pacifist. I worked against the current President twice (in 2000 it was full time, 7 days a week, for 5 months) and I strongly oppose the war in Iraq.

But my brother and I care about the exact same thing above all else - ensuring the safety and well being of others - even if it means sacrificing our own lives to do so. Both of us are very intelligent, rational men, who think very long and hard about the decisions we make. We come from the same family, with the same upbringing, and the same values. But we came to two very different conclusions about some very monumental life choices.

And while I still vigorously disagree with my brother's decisions, I love him and trust him to make the right choices for his life and for our country, as he trusts me. And I know that unlike so many others in positions of leadership right now, he takes personal responsibility for the consequences of his decisions.

So I support my brother. He is a hero, fighting for what he believes is right.

This year, amidst all of the bitter partisanship and acrimonious disagreements, take a moment to think about my brother, and all the other women and men serving overseas.

Think of their sacrifice. Think of their love for our country which they will not see for many months, or years, or at all, if they are unlucky. Think of their love for their friends and their families.

Their families who they will not see. Their children who they will not see Christmas morning.

They will not kiss their wives beneath the mistletoe. They will not hold their husband's hand as they pray. They will not laugh as you accidentally spill a drink on your sister.

And they will not smile as Grandpa talks about the war sixty years ago, for the sixtieth time. And they will not feel relieved when everyone makes it safely home from long journeys. And they will not be happy just to have the entire family sit down to dinner together. And they will not cry as the watch their newborn daughter open her first gift.

Though their will most certainly be tears.

Remember this. Remember their capacity for love and sacrifice that is the true spirit of this holiday season. Keep it in your thoughts, and carry within you for as long as you can in the New Year.

I'm going home to New York. My little brother will not be their this year. But he will be in all of our thoughts, and in all of our hearts.

I won't be back in Washington, or at my computer to blog, until January. Take care everyone. And have a happy holiday.
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