Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day

A life-long pacifist (if I were religious, I'd probably be a Quaker), I've never understood man's inhumanity to man. But that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the sacrifices of those who serve our country and keep it safe from the various madmen who populate the world.

My maternal grandfather, his brother and my father's uncle all served during WWII. My mother's older brother served during the Korean War and her younger brother served in Viet Nam. All five of these brave men are gone now, though none of them as the result of the wars in which they fought. Still, they risked their lives defending America and for that, I am grateful. 

Lately, it seems that there is always someone waiting in the wings to be the next Hitler; Stalin; Mao; Ho Chi Min; Kim Jong Il or Osama bin Laden. The thing about villains is - they don't think they are villains. Most of them are ordinary men who, for whatever reason, have formed some twisted idea of how they think the world should be and then try to impose that idea on everyone else. Villains think the end always justifies the means, no matter how horrific the means or the end are in reality.

As an actor, it's always fun to find the justification for a villain's actions. Playing the villain is always preferable to playing the hero, if only to find that justification and use it to create the character. One of the basic tenets of acting is trying to discover what a character wants, why he or she wants it and how he or she goes about attaining it.

In the real world, there is never justification for mass murder and the suppression of basic human rights, no matter what the intended end. Since the dawn of civilization, men have tried to rule the world, while others have fought to stop them. A strong military has always been a necessary evil in order to protect a society's ideals. It is a very sad fact of life and one of mankind's many flaws.

Since the mid-1700's, Americans have laid down their lives to protect the freedoms that our Democracy provides. I may hate war and violence, but I hate oppression and tyranny more.

This weekend, please take a moment to reflect on what Memorial Day really is about. If you know or are related  to a veteran, take a moment to thank him or her for all they have done to preserve peace and protect the freedoms we often take for granted.

More, anon.

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