May 30, 2003

By Michael Strickland

A Life Imagined

Today is officially Memorial Day, though the holiday was widely observed last Monday, so I thought it a fitting occasion for a tribute to those who have died fighting for our country. Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday in 1971, but the day of remembrance has been observed since the mid-1860s. Back then, it originated as a day in which to remember the fallen soldiers of the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers, but the holiday has since expanded to embrace the soldiers and sailors who gave their lives in all wars.

Memorial Day tributes often tell the stories of individual men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. Heroes are remembered, battles recounted, bravery honored. We should not forget the thousands, the millions, who have died protecting our country since 1776. But in my opinion, remembering them is not enough.

Those who fought and died for our country believed in the ideals for which it stands—enough so to give their lives. They gave up their dreams, their plans, their potential, so that we all could pursue ours. Remembering their sacrifices on Memorial Day is important, but the only way to truly honor their deaths is to seize life, to live up to our fullest possibilities.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined." These words are as good a rule to live by as any—better than most, in fact. To shuffle through life, to stand around the time clock waiting for one's life to happen, is a waste of one's gifts by any standard. But when put into perspective by thinking about what countless people gave up so that we could be free to pursue our potential, it seems downright shameful.

I should know; I feel like I've done my fair share of idling in recent years. In many ways, I lost my momentum, to paraphrase my father. But I'm taking the first tentative steps toward creating the life I have long imagined. It's no easy task, certainly easier said than done, especially in these hard economic times. Nevertheless, I'm slowly regaining my momentum, exploring my potential once again. The future looks bright.

Those who died to preserve our freedoms gave up their chance so that we would have ours. After you pause to remember their sacrifices today, think about your own life. Have you taken your chance? Are you living the life you imagined?


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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5/29: Stupidity, Unveiled
5/26: Back at the Rancho
5/23: Pale Blue Dot
5/22: Underwater
5/21: Writing Again
5/20: Go Spend Money
5/18: Couch
5/17: Armed Forces Day
5/16: Reload
5/15: Temporary Defeat
5/12: What, Me Write?
5/11: Rockin' Out
5/10: Van Halen at the Tokyo Dome
5/9: Your Tax Dollars at Work
5/8: Yes, I Am a Nerd
5/7: Still Writing
5/6: A Different World?
5/5: Sponge
5/4: MacGyver
5/3: Mike's Sky Ranch
5/2: Baja Bound
5/1: Ice Moon
Previous months in The Archive

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