In the midst of our flame bursting 4th of July weekend, it's hard to imagine anything beyond chucking around the football or floating in the pool. We all deserve an annual escape from our little slave cubicles and our clacking on computers. Who among us could not use a break in building, lecturing and worrying about raising our commission for just one day? (Well, except the police).
While our hard working nation takes the less vacation time than any other, there's always the random slot on the calendar (like Cinco De Mayo) that allow us to celebrate for a minute even if we don't know what we're celebrating. The 4th of July obviously isn't one of these. Even the least enlightened of our society can bound around and cheer with some slight knowledge of the significance behind that flag flapping in the breeze.
Whether we agree or not on the symbolism behind the flag, just how free we really are, or what side we're on when it comes to the war, we should remember those fighting the battles. While we're floating down some stream or cracking open another beer, wherever it is you stand on the issue of war, you're not standing in it, and the cheers from explosions in the sky here aren't too similar half the world away where there's not much cheering at all.
You don't have to be a heartthrob of George Bush to show a little empathy for the soldiers strutting around in that bomb-happy land of sweat. Judah Tice, a United States Army Infantryman who spent 17 months in Iraq, described his 4th of July there just as any other day in Iraq despite the realization that holidays land higher rates of attack than others.
After a dreaded 5 o'clock arise, 135-degree weather greeted them as they paced around with 40 pounds of gear on their bodies through polluted streets for endless hours not knowing what will happen…it was simply just another day. The only peak of it all was slightly better meals, which still, "could never compare to anything back in the states."
Trapped in a terrain hotter than our barbeques where bombs are thrown as freely as footballs does not sound too thrilling to me. Although I believe the war in Iraq is rash and leaves little indication of resolution or direction, I cannot dismiss a soldier's absence of vital time back home as irrelevant.
Of course, it's not fair for Bush to be trotting a round in his fresh little suit as many soldiers crawl through an evitable cave of death. It's even more unreasonable that they'll never experience the excitement and celebration that we're experiencing over here-which was initially in celebration of them.