4,048 Gold Stars and Harmony
I had the opportunity to visit Washington DC last weekend. Visiting the monuments is a powerful and moving experience and one I highly recommend for every American. It is so easy to take for granted all the abundance of liberties we are afforded in this amazing country, and this served as a powerful reminder. The newest of the monuments on the mall is the WWII memorial that displays a broad wall with 4,048 gold stars. Each star represents 100 American service personnel that perished in the war. The sign etched in stone at the bottom reads, “Here we mark the price of freedom.” Standing there 76 years later, so many unexpected emotions welled up from deep inside me. Apart from the unfathomable number of people it represented who died in defense of their country, I thought about how each of those 4,048 stars represented 100 fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, friends and devastated families. How much was sacrificed. How much was lost to preserve the freedoms we enjoy today.
My eyes were filled with tears, so moved by the symbolism of the memorial and the weight of its significance. But the tears I shed were also for the state of my country in the present day: a nation divided, torn apart by opposing political ideologies, each side tethered to their beliefs and unwilling to budge. We have all seen families and friendships ripped apart, each side 100% convinced they are right and cannot fathom how their loved one or friend could feel any different. Unfortunately, social media further reinforces the divide, selling us whatever we already believe, clouding our vision and making it increasingly hard to distinguish truth from fiction.
In my travels around this country, I am deeply offended when I see signs hanging in people’s yards that say F… Biden. Not because of my own political beliefs, but because, come on, we are better than that. It is true those gold stars gave us the freedom to display any banner we choose, but why should we? I remember pledging my allegiance to the flag every day in school,“..One nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
unable to be divided or separated.
Our leaders are unable or unwilling to create unity and stop the landslide away from indivisible, so it falls on us. It is on us to reach across the aisle and embrace our differences, to create unity and remember all the reasons why this is a great country to live in.
I am not naïve enough to think what separates us is not important. It is. But so is brotherhood, harmony, family, and togetherness. So is love and kindness and peace. As a species we are interconnected and connected. Underneath we are all the same. We all love our children and want them to grow up in a peaceful world. That peace starts with us and expands out to our families and our communities. We are stronger together and need not wait for another tragedy like 911 to pull together as a nation.
Thanksgiving is fast upon us. This holiday is the perfect time to remember what was sacrificed by our ancestors and enjoy the legacy they have left for us. This holiday is a time to rejoice and feel grateful for all the miracles that have been bestowed upon us. This holiday is a time to come together to unite as we celebrate and break bread with family, friends, and neighbors. This holiday is the perfect time to count our blessings for all the things that bind us and put aside our differences.