Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

A quote from The Atlantic, "We must still do far more than we have done to honor the dead, to comfort the wounded, and to lend a hand to those fortunate enough to have returned to us unharmed, than merely attend parades or wear poppies or visit graves or bow our heads in silence."

The best way to celebrate Veterans Day is to simply be thankful – enjoying those pleasures, rights and freedoms that America affords.  We live in a great nation, and don’t you forget it!  Here’s to peace.

For the naysayers, peace can be achieved, but only when the judging stops, looking upon each other as equals.  We must respect everyone’s spiritual beliefs too, whether one chooses to believe or not – otherwise, we will perish.  Believing in a higher power, in itself, does not guarantee peace because more people have been murdered in the name of God historically.

The following are a mishmash of thoughts from my past blogs, expressions that become even more relevant with each passing day.  Enjoy! – paerki

Do You Care, America?

We are passive when it comes to devastating habitats, exploiting natural resources (oil, lumber, etc.), and all out of greed. Sadly we pick and choose how we regard life – debating abortion, health care, not funding projects for the poor and overpopulating the planet, and all out of selfishness, disrespect and ignorance. What about life in the rivers and oceans – in the forest and elsewhere? Do you care, America? We continue to pollute streams and fields, releasing harmful chemicals in the air we breathe and the water we drink. Do you care, America?

It’s sad that many are eager to play the dirty game of politics, both politician and follower waging war on minorities, especially gays and women, who are not your enemy, but your friends, coworkers, relatives, etc. Let’s not forget about war as it pertains to combat and all those little boys on Capitol Hill who are still trying to prove themselves to their mothers and the world at large that they are big, strong and moral, but in actuality are small, weak and unprincipled, only happy when they are picking on the meager to feed their righteous conceited egos (now this is a real bully). Do you care, America?


You’ll hear what you want to hear, see what you want to see, but can you handle the truth? Can you tell the truth?  We talk about freedom, and we fight for what we believe in, but at what cost? We are very selfish and manipulative in our beliefs, as Republicans and Fundamentalists prove. I love America, but we are severely flawed. Criticizing war is not the same as criticizing our soldiers.  I appreciate our brave warriors. We must take care of our military personnel and our veterans properly.

There are no winners in war. War only evokes pictures of mass destruction, uprooting, cruelty, plunder, and the demise of civilizations. No one can ever rationalize “why.” The justification after seems utterly ridiculous.  It’s not that I am for or against war; I’ve just grown tired of death, lives ripped apart and for what? A war where any country can really emerge winner has yet to be fought, and will never be fought because there are no winners in war.


We all have the power to release what binds us.  I believe the hardest-hearted person on earth can release his/her pain – hate, but I’m not always certain religion helps.  There is no time like the present to come together (as a nation) to seriously discuss the level of vitriol in our democracy, but how can this happen when radical extremists in government fuel the fires of hate with self-righteous rhetoric?


A cemetery is a place where life and death converge. Today, at the Veteran’s Cemetery I mourned those who lost their lives fighting for freedom. I was reminded that we must never take anything for granted. As I looked out at the countless flags that sit atop those who lay in permanent stasis, I could not help but marvel at that which is still alive – trees, grass, geese, cranes, squirrels, and the many people who came to visit. The cycle of life is continuous in many parts of nature; may it continue to be the same for the human race.

I am grateful to all that are paving the way for freedom. From generations past who fought in Korea, Vietnam, World Wars I & II, Desert Storm and the many other wars of past and present, I owe all a debt of gratitude of which I could never repay, but I try my best to do so by being an upstanding citizen.

For those who will never fight in a military war, we owe it to the dead to be the best we can be. To all of us who are fighting the war of life, which is nothing more than indifference and ignorance, we must find a way to unite because our future depends on it.


As I sat listening to these beautiful chants, I contemplated religious dogma.  Many have manipulated ancient text to control the masses.  We propagate fear out of selfish necessity.  Politicians often use it as a tool of oppression.  This must end.

We must stop judging each other, because in performing the latter, what we are really doing is judging ourselves, and with that we prove our ignorance to the world.

No matter what you believe, religion must be all-inclusive.  We must look for the positive, and relent on the hate-mongering rhetoric.  We all matter, and deserve the love of each other, and of a God that may or may not exist, depending on your beliefs.

I was led to believe toxic fundamentalist perspectives at a very young age.  I never understood the concentration on negativity, and I’m still clueless.  I abandoned religion in my young adult life, becoming an atheist, and now – an agnostic.

What I practice is the religion of unconditional love, and I encourage you to do the same.  I believe in a universal life force that resides in each of us, which links us all, thus all paths leading to God, which is nothing more than enlightenment.  May we all learn to be a bit more understanding.  Love more.  Hate less.  Find peace.

What would life be like without memories? It’s fair to say, there would be no life at all. Memory is our communication, reason, coherence, our action and more importantly, our feeling. Memories create our path in life, developing our psychology and leading us emotionally.

One of the best ways to create and store memories is with video. These simple effortless little snippets of time create diaries and become perpetual time capsules, which justify our walk on earth, telling all with great enthusiasm… I was here! I mattered! I lived! Please, don’t forget me.

Share your views, thoughts and opinions in the written word. Snap photographs so that your eyes can travel back in time, remembering the happy and sad moments that made you the person you were, are and became in life. But, whenever possible, capture video to enhance the memories you leave behind, so that others may pass the essence of your life on to future generations.


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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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