Remembering the Fallen

Memorial Day

It’s easy in today’s world of constant, sensationalist media to develop a jaded view of humanity. This is certainly true of the U.S. military and its current foreign engagements. The news reports often focus on some legitimately bad behavior, perpetrated by a very small minority of U.S. servicemen and women. It is also true that the missions in Afghanistan and Iraq deserve thoughtful consideration and pause, regardless of political affiliation or varying world views. If fact, it is our responsibility as citizens to examine such things with a critical eye. But not today. Today is Memorial Day, and it is not a day for judging the ongoing conflicts in which our military is engaged, but is instead, an opportunity to show appreciation for the service to our country given by men and women who have sacrificed their lives, trying to do the right thing. Trying to make the world a better place.

 

 

Thankful for my Daughter

And so, while there are many I can single out for remembrance, today I am grateful for the sacrifice of soldiers in the Korean War. Despite occurring over 60 years ago, the Korean war has changed my life, perhaps in ways I don’t fully recognize, but also because of my daughter: Faith. In 2006, after some painful losses, Jen and I decided we wanted to adopt. We specifically wanted a little girl. We were matched with Faith in August of 2006 and she came home to us from South Korea in November of that year. She is a wonderful part of my life. But it may not have even been possible without the Korean War. In 1950, the North Korean army was bigger, stronger, well prepared, and heavily armed. They were pushing south and having an easy go of it.
And while it’s easy to talk in hypotheticals, It’s not outrageous to suggest that had the U.S. not intervened in Korea, the peninsula would look very different today. From what we know of the brutal regime in North Korea, A Korea “united” under the DPRK would have been a tragedy for the Korean people. Looking at South Korea now, you’ll find a country home to major industries, thriving, growing, and peaceful. That is truly a success story. And of course, had the south fallen to the north, I can’t imagine how adopting a Korean child would have ever been possible.

 

To the 33,686 men and women who gave their lives for the freedom of South Korea: thank you for your service, and thank you for my daughter.

So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a timeless classic, full of irreverence, mischief and surprisingly, wisdom. It’s also really darn funny, so if you haven’t read the complete series, I highly recommend it. And by the way, today is Towel Day, a day set aside by fans to remember  the life of Douglas Adams. I had the good fortune of meeting Mr. Adams in 1995, and he was a funny, amiable man who didn’t take himself too seriously. We chatted during his visit to the University of Rochester, drank champagne in the limousine and enjoyed a dinner in a somewhat cramped Italian restaurant on Mt. Hope Avenue. The book blog Book Riot has put together a list of the best quotes from The Hitchhiker’s guide. Some of my favorites:

“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

“Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.”

Don’t Panic.