It has always been perplexing to me why so many people are drawn to and fascinated by war movies, myself included. From Saving Private Ryan to Hacksaw Ridge, these films are realistically gruesome, and stressful to watch. But I’ve come to realize that they serve as more than entertainment. They serve as an opportunity for the privileged and sheltered of today to see the sacrifice of those who were thrust into the arms of war. I say “privileged and sheltered” with no contempt. Those honorable people who gave their lives did so we can enjoy such a reality.
Unfortunately, war is not a thing of the past. Unrest is rampant in our country and our world. Hopefully, we will never have to endure such horror as the firsthand experience of war and my profound thanks and respect goes out to those who have. But, it is always my goal to write about what I know. And today, I know that I am so fortunate to write from my quiet and peaceful corner of the world. I am uncomfortably aware of my privilege and struggle to understand what I can do in this life that is remotely comparable to such sacrifice.Just because we haven’t endured the firsthand realities of war, and live in privilege- doesn’t mean that our contributions are lesser. It just means that with the privileges passed on to us, we become responsible for educating ourselves on the sacrifices of those who came before us. We must be informed- we must not go backwards and make their sacrifices exist in vain. We must award their sacrifice with progress, respect, compassion, and empathy. Each of us are an intimate part of those war scenes we’ve watched- even though we may never see a battlefield.
On this Memorial Day, I meditate on the reality that the sacrifices of yesterday give way to the freedoms and opportunities of today. I truly believe it is our responsibility to honor those who gave their lives by going forth and living full, inspired lives. President John Adams said, “I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.” Let us live inspired by the sentiment of this quote. Live with respect and empathy for all humans. Create something in this world that will contribute to peace and progress. Regardless of your vocation in life, you can honor the fallen by living your life fully and with great purpose.
I challenge you to think, today, on how you will honor those who gave their lives so that you may live in a better world. I now fully realize, if it were not for the bravery of people who fought for our freedom, I would not have the choice to devote my life to the creation of music and art.
But I am certain that after this realization, my music and art will be further infused with my goal to bring joy and peace to a troubled world. It is my contribution to a better future- and it is my respects to those who made it possible.
My Grandfather, Joseph Philip Patrick, United States Army in World War II
He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Stars.