Every year around the Fourth of July I have this same conundrum. While I'm grateful for the independence and peace that we are afforded in the country and how thankful I am for the people in my life that have served in the armed forces, I have difficulty celebrating war.
The July 4th celebration we usually attend in Cayucos, CA is fun and amazing. Sitting by the ocean is so peaceful and watching our kids and now our grandkids in awe as the fireworks go off from the end of the pier is so fun. In the back of my mind though there is always this thought that those fireworks represent real bombs that killed real people and are still killing people today. Over 100,000 just in Syria this year. Being part of a celebration of that eats away a little part of me every time I do it.
I don't buy into the theory that peace is only bought through the barrel of a gun. I'm not a fatalist, nor a "fairytaleist" believing that either there is no end to war or that only in the "end of days" will we see true peace. I believe humans have the capacity to reason and given the chance, peace could be brought about by humans reasoning together. There's a lot of unnecessary baggage, religious and political, that we'll need to shed first.
I also cringe at the cost of these July 4th celebrations nationwide. The Boston celebration alone costs $3.5 million including all the support costs. A small town celebration can cost in to the tens of thousands. If you add all that up, we could feed a lot of hungry people for a year and get a lot of mental health patients out of the creeks and into facilities that could really help them, not just institutionalize them. It would go a long way in helping save the tens of thousands of kids that die every day around the world from some hunger related issue.
So land the plane here Tim. Paradoxically, we'll likely go to the Cayucos celebration and I'll watch my wide eyed grandkids wrapped in blankets at the beach. This year though, I'm going to give what I think my families piece of the celebration would cost to our local homless services center to take care of some of the least of these close to home. I hope you'll do the same. And after the fireworks are silent, I'll do what I can do to bring reason to the world I can affect to build a lasting peace without war.