Memorial Day. . .a time to stop from shopping, swimming, camping, driving or hiking to pay respects to the thousands of men and women who have paved the way for us to enjoy what we enjoy each and every day. Looking back over history, we’ve seen so many changes in our world–many of them brought about by armed conflicts–that have made a difference in our lives. Rare indeed is the soldier who comes back from battle to a job, a home, a family and a way of life that was close to the same existence before being deployed. Rare indeed is a society that on the surface supports our men and women in uniform, but when it comes to providing a livable income upon return, the tendency is to turn the other cheek. Rare indeed is the family unit–held together by a spouse on the homefront–so precious to the long term survival of this country. We live in changing times–change that has been good and change that hasn’t be so good, but change that has been made possible by the sacrifices made by veterans of armed conflicts.
As baby boomers, we grew up with the stories of heroism from World War II, and from our parents mouths we heard first hand of the bravery in the fields, in the air and under water of people who drew together for a common goal. A common goal. Hmmmm, something totally missing today. We’ve lost the ability to seek a common goal. Unfortunately, as Memorial Day 2013 draws to a close, we’ve become a country that is deeply divided. We have leadership that seeks to polarize the citizenry and a media that exploits it at every turn. Soldiers who have come and gone before us seem to have fought and died in vain because we no longer (as a general rule) espouse the values of a country united for a common purpose, but instead have become a nation forged on ‘what’s in it for me’. Not to be on a soap box, but Memorial Day provides us the perfect back drop of historical significance, patriotic prowess and determination to succeed–all of it compliments of those who have come before us. And, how do we recognize their contributions? We minimalize their accomplishments by getting bogged down in rhetoric and shying away from substance. We’d rather see sound bytes than deal with reality. We’d prefer to see everything packaged neatly in an Entertainment Tonight segment rather than deal with the fact that the middle class is shrinking; the poor are growing in numbers and the skilled workforce is being replaced by the unskilled without a drive and determination to do better than their predecessors. It’s a curious predicament. . .but we can’t blame the contributions of our veterans!
So tonight we opened a really nice wine from Paso Robles, California. . .a 2011 Rare Find Cabernet Sauvignon. We picked this wine up at the HEB Plus in Kyle, Texas as we watched a “Chopped” showdown between the cooking team from the Kyle Fire Department and the Buda Fire Department. . .the event was held in the store and was an appropriate tribute for the hard working first responders in our area. This wine–while inexpensive to buy–tastes like wines that are two to three times its price. The nose was one of sweetness–kind of like trying a raspberry cobbler or blueberry pie. . .a la mode. . .very jammy. We tasted the wine and were immediately greeted by the berry flavor; a nice oak finish and a long, pleasing after-taste were a surprising combination for this wine. While still young in the bottle, we felt like it was better than many in its’ price range and could easily be enjoyed in six to nine months without issue. All in all it was a decent wine to break out on Memorial Day.
As we all head back to our homes for the week ahead, we can’t help but think about–with gratitude–the men and women who have served our country in the past. The ideals and values that they fought and died for were as real then as the are today–so hopefully, we won’t lose sight of our values and ideals. . .because in losing them, we do a tremendous disservice to their contributions to our lifestyle. To the men and women of our country who continue to serve, thank you. You are shining stars on otherwise cloudy skies of society, and we respect you and wish you godspeed to return home to your families, your friends, your communities and your careers. YOUR leadership will prove to be the difference in the future and for that WE are a nation that is grateful.
Please enjoy your favorite wine responsibly and remember to recycle whenever possible.