The Bow Ramp

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day in Corvallis

I went over to the Benton County Veterans Memorial this morning. This was before the services, while they were still setting up. I didn't stay because I had to fix a computing emergency at my wife's business, but I had time to reflect and say a prayer for the fallen.

Today, they were dedicating a new stone for the WOT fallen. I didn't take a picture, because doing so while others were busy making preparations would have made me feel like a paparazzi. I did take a picture last year on the 4th of July. That picture is here.

If you click on the link above, you will get a hi-res of the names on the memorial. Notice the numbers of people killed in the various wars. Today they added two names. In the nearly five years since 9/11, Benton County has lost two servicemen.

Each death is a tragedy to the departed's loved ones. A mother's grief will be the same whether her son was killed in Iraq, or crossing the street at home. Yet for me, there is the consolation that these two men, and the many servicemen who preceded them in years past died in the furtherance of noble goals. Either our lives mean something, or they do not. Many philosophers have argued over that point with no clear winner. I, however, choose to believe that our lives can have meaning. I believed that a long time ago, as a young man volunteering for duty in Vietnam. I believe that now as an old man, still volunteering -- doing what I am yet able to do.

If you have no goal, principle, or belief that you are not willing to stake your life on; then you have no worthy goals, principles, or beliefs.