Last week, my family and I explored New Orleans. We have been wanting to go for so long. Now that we live in Birmingham, AL, we are only 5 hours away. Spring Break!
One of our days was spent at the WWII Museum in New Orleans. It is huge! I deligated all the trip recreation research to my 12-year-old, so I didn’t know it was there or that it was so big. It was AMAZING.
War is a horrible waste of human life, energy, ambition, resources, everything. Isn’t it? I hate that there are small people in this world and in history that love it and think war and violence makes them big.
The museum campus is huge with several large buildings. The sidewalk outside and most of the main entrances are made from a cozy, red brick. We walked for about a block before realizing the bricks have names on them—names of all the men and women who fought and/or died in WWII. Some bricks had multiple names. And those were just American names. Millions of men and women from ally countries also fought valiantly with us in the cause against tyranny, genocide, and violent imperialism.
The museum has a fantastic 4D movie, “Beyond All Boundaries.” It is very impactful. There was a part where the quotes from veterans describe the intense death around them day after day. One soldier said, “We drank from dead men’s canteens. We fought with dead men’s weapons. We slept under dead men’s blankets.”
This was poignant. We still do that. We drink from dead men’s canteens. We fight with dead men’s weapons. We sleep under dead men’s blankets. I life safely and comfortably today because of the lives and sacrifices that have lived, loved, served, and died before me. I have running water in my privately owned, well-constructed home where I sleep with cozy blankets protected by quality firearms and a well-trained police force who act under a brilliant Constitution.
ALL of these realities are the results of millions of people’s gifts, miseries, sacrifices, and lives.
I get to live in America in 2022. There has never been more freedom, more opportunities, more comforts, more safety, more education, more tolerance, more compassion, and more prosperity at everyone’s fingertips than today.
Except it isn’t as obvious to current generations. We are far removed from the realities of war and of freedom. Hell, we are even removed from real work. We think the sky is falling if someone says something we don’t like, if we have to study for a test to measure our incredible education, or if our air conditioner breaks. Someone else ground my flour, purified my water, gathered my fuel, and protected my back today.
The sacrifices and contributions of others are like the bricks of that sidewalk–easy to forget but the reality of our bounty and freedom nonetheless.
I have huge gratitude for the sacrifices that I can comprehend. And for the ones I can’t comprehend. I’m especially grateful for why I can’t comprehend them.
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