May 25, 2020
Good Monday evening VFOT friends, fans, and followers. This blog post was actually due yesterday, but as I started planning it, I deliberately decided to delay it. You see, today is Memorial Day 2020, and this Holiday weekend has been unlike any that I’ve ever experienced…unlike any most of us have experienced. I wanted to write this today.
I’m going to apologize upfront, because I’m going to deviate from the normal organization of these entries, and I’m probably going to go on a little longer than usual. I’m sorry.
Today is Memorial Day. It’s a day that many recognize as the unofficial start of the summer season. It is a day off from work and a day to hold family celebrations with cookouts in the yard, on the beach, or at the lake. However, that is not what Memorial Day is about. Memorial Day is the day that we pause to remember the Fallen members of our Armed Forces…those who paid the last full measure in service of our great nation. Today is a day to pay respect and homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect the rights and privileges that allow us to gather and enjoy those celebrations that I mentioned above. We should never forget their service and sacrifice…and we should never forget what their losses bought for us.
I never served on active duty. My time in uniform was cut short, as I’ve explained in earlier posts. However, in the brief time that I did serve, I lost 2 members of my Company. Neither was lost in combat, but service in uniform is inherently dangerous even in peace time and losses are constant. I’ve been following my classmates’ social media posts this weekend and the roll calls of our Fallen Shipmates that they’ve been posting has been heart-wrenching. At least one of our classmates was killed in an insider terrorist attack on American soil. You just never know.
As I’ve been entertaining these thoughts, I’ve had to balance them with the changes that the ongoing pandemic have required. No parades, no Memorial Service, no large-scale gatherings…just continued physical distancing and family isolation. Protective measures against the virus have made this year’s recognition of Memorial Day completely different, and it requires some reflection.
As we enter the 3rd month of this new reality, our Nation is deeply divided. Our elected officials, aspiring politicians, and citizens on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of most issues disagree about the virulence of the virus, the re-opening of the economy, our right to assemble, attending worship, and dozens of other positions. I think that on Memorial Day, it is important to remember that our rights to hold these divergent opinions is exactly what our Fallen Servicemembers fought and died to protect. As I’ve reflected this weekend, my fear is that many of them would be deeply disappointed in us if they could see how were behaving.
I don’t want this to be a political post. I just want to offer a suggestion. Whatever your beliefs on any of these (or any other) issues, remember that those on the other side enjoy the exact same rights to their opinions and beliefs. Disagreement is not a license to lose our civility. Polite and respectful discourse can still occur even when we disagree with someone. This is what our honored Fallen gave their lives to defend. We, as a nation, owe them better than we’re offering right now. We can do better.
I finished Fortitude. I liked that one very much. I’m still working on dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work.
I need to step out of serious reading for a little while. I decided to pull on of Captain Richard Marcinko’s novel off the shelf and re-visit it. My bedtime reading has been Rogue Warrior: Designation Gold (Marcinko, Richard and Weisman, John. Rogue Warrior: Designation Gold.1997. New York: Pocket Books.)
Other Learning Opportunities
The 1st week of this period was Police Week and included National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Obviously, we couldn’t hold our traditional events and ceremonies. Instead, I video recorded my prepared remarks. I was able to upload them to YouTube, then share them with the staff at Pittsfield Community Television and they were able to broadcast them. It was a bit of a learning curve.
I’ve continued accessing remote learning opportunities for Jiu-jitsu. I added a grappling dummy to my gear to add another element to these classes.
On Tuesday night, we got called out for an Officer Involve Shooting. That derailed that night and most of the next day, but my team pulled together and even though we were restricted to remote meetings, we got through all the required follow up appointments for our personnel utilizing Zoom. I’m very proud of my team for pulling together for that.
As all of this was ramping up, my work social media accounts were frozen, due to a faulty setting in the parent account. Troubleshooting this issue and eventually fixing it by creating new pages and linking them to other accounts was brain-numbing. I got through it and learned a little bit in the process.
We’ve continued to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and each other. Date nights have been about picking great local restaurants for take-out or enjoying homemade pizza. The conversation prompt cards have been getting a workout. We’ve gotten out for some fun walks or hikes.
I’ve logged a few good rucks and some nice flexibility and mobility workouts. The other thing that I’ve managed to do during these unusual times was take care of some outstanding chores that had piled up over the winter. The garage and the shop are looking good right now.
Today, I took the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy some reading. After coffee and the news, it was time to get a workout in. I carried my gear out onto the deck and did a combined flexibility/mobility and strength/conditioning workout in the sun. After that, we went out for a start of summer ice cream. Then we came home, and I cooked burgers on the grill as our Holiday meal. Now, the sun has set, the weekend is coming to a close and it’s time to start focusing on the coming week.
That’s more than enough for now. Be well. Be healthy. See you soon.
Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*