On this Memorial Day I was driving the back roads of Texas between Lubbock and Dallas, past gigantic and historic ranches like the Pitchfork and the Four Sixes which cover hundreds of thousands of acres; past oil drilling rigs and vast cotton fields; and past numerous small communities.
In the tiny town of Benjamin, we stopped at the Knox County Veteran's Memorial which consists of tall grey granite monoliths etched with names of each veteran and the conflicts they participated in. There were many names for a county of just over 4,000 people. Those killed in action were listed on a center arch. Volunteers - a middle aged man and woman - were trimming the trees around the memorial. They told us that $60,000 in donations had been raised in just 18 months to build the site. It's obvious that Knox County respects and honors the sacrifices of its veterans.
Driving on, we entered Denton, home to Texas Women's University and the University of North Texas. There we saw six protesters standing on an highway overpass holding signs like "Get Out of Iraq" and "Honk to Stop the War". I don't see how my honking would have any effect, but no matter. I'm glad they're still able to protest.
Considering those who want immediate withdrawal at any cost and those who choose to put their lives and bodies on the line, I was reminded of this quote:
"The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." -- John Stuart Mill