11:11, 11/11

A rare purely soapbox moment for this blog.

I am not one to take note of “mandatory” cultural celebrations, this one included.  My only exceptions to this are Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/Easter.

It is no doubt the curmudgeon in me but I fear that in general public celebratory conformity diminishes the heartfelt expressions, reducing them to mere cloying sentimentality, pushing us to compartmentalize integral appreciation into momentary self-congratulatory sanctimony, but I am thus redundant.

For veterans, the reason I do not ostentatiously note November 11 is that I strive to express my appreciation to them every day: thanking soldiers for their service and willingness to write me a check and sign it with their life-blood; anonymously paying for the dinner of a soldier and their family sitting in the opposite side of the restaurant; quietly giving money through my pastor for an airman to fly home for a much-needed but un-affordable visit to his far-absent family.  Either such gestures are part of your life or they are not, the calendar does not dictate them.

I was never in the Service, even though my draft lottery number was #1.   I could not pass the physical exam due to my eyesight, which was very much compromised then as now.  Nevertheless I went through the advance process during my senior year of high school, taking aptitude tests and expressing my specialty preference.  I was provisionally green-lit for nuclear engineering school in the US Navy, I had taken a preliminary psych test for submarine service.  I was expecting to enlist right after high school but the vision thing  booted me out.  So be it.

Lest you think I am uncharitable in my (lack of) public celebrations, consider my attitude toward the Fourth of July.  Though it is one of four public holidays I note here, any fair-minded reading of The Declaration of Independence, which to me was the very pinnacle of civic human culture, could lead to a fair conclusion that its majestic premises were abandoned generations ago.  I revere the Declaration and consider myself a Declarationist first and a Constitutionalist second, but the public hoopla around July 4 rings hollow in a culture that ardently opposes its ideals across the partisan spectrum.

Even the two days most noted in faith, Christmas and Easter, do not resonate with me though I am a devout Follower of The Way.  If I genuinely believe in the Incarnation and Resurrection, it affects me in every way and on every day.  If not, not.  No “ceremonial days” can change that.

Just one of my many quirks.

Stepping down off the box.  Back to woodworking.