Tomorrow is the Fourth of July. For me, that means hanging out with my best friends, having some tasty seafood from Hills Seafood in Kennett Square (free publicity!) and enjoying a-hopefully-beautiful day. Then maybe we'll drive around, looking for some fireworks after sunset. If we find some, we'll "ooo" and "ahhh," and I'll pick the sparkly, gold, crackly ones as my favorite. If we don't find any, we'll head back home to drink lemonade and relax. And battle a swarm of mosquitoes.That's more or less what I've done every Fourth, even when my brother was serving in the U.S. Navy. Shouldn't I be doing something for my country or our soldiers? I bet they won't be eating fresh seafood tomorrow, even though they're the ones who deserve it most.
I am endlessly thankful for our troops, who I sometimes deem crazy for being so willing to fight for a government that does a lot of things with which I don't agree. I have a college friend who will be sent to Iraq within the next month, and he said, "See you in a year" to me last time I saw him. He's not even sure if he'll be coming home in 12 months. Luckily, he'll be serving in a relatively calm zone, yet he said he wishes he would be "closer to the action." I don't. But maybe it would make his time overseas go faster? It scares me to think I could never see him again, regardless of where he's stationed.
Sometimes I think about what it would be like to lose a cousin or a friend, or even having to serve myself, and I actually get choked up just imagining it. I don't agree with war. At all. I like to believe that there's a more peaceful way we can resolve our problems with other countries. But unfortunately, we still fight because at times it seems we have no other choice.
Most times, I feel like we should be more worried about homelessness, inflation, ever-rising gas prices, racism, sexism, the job market, Social Security and energy efficiency in the United States than the war in Iraq-and no, I'm not suggesting we just hightail it out of there. I don't have a solution. But until we figure out how to solve our own problems and can safely bring everyone home from Iraq, I'm going to do my part to support the troops-even if I don't fully agree with why they're over there-by doing whatever I can, be it philanthropy, community service or volunteer work.
I used to write holiday cards to troops when I was in college, and I feel like it's time I did more. I learned this week that the West Grove-Avondale Rotary Club sent more than 1,600 pounds of food and toiletries overseas. Now that's what I'm talking about. There's a certain satisfaction when you realize you've made a difference in the lives of others, so let's enjoy our Fourth, but then it's time to give back. Maybe if we all give a little, the government will understand that it's the American troops we support, not necessarily the war.
Now if we could just figure out how to ship all of our leftover crab cakes and cocktail shrimp to Iraq.