Today is “Veterans Day” here in the United States. November 11 was initially called “Armistice Day” to mark the end of World War I, while England and other Commonwealth countries call it “Remembrance Day.”
Reggie Black is a veteran; I asked him if he wanted to write a “guest blog” today and he declined.
The announcer on the classical music station was uncomfortable as he tried to arrive at the appropriate vocal tone and posture for talking about the day. He noted that many people have the day off and there will be parades and observances. He has been trained to sound happy and upbeat (it pleases the advertisers) and I didn’t hear a somber tone in his voice.
He says we should “remember the brave men and women who have kept this country strong.”
What does that mean? Is being “strong” the same as being “free?”
Recently, I read an article about new streetlights the city of Las Vegas is installing. Not only will they illuminate sidewalks, but they can also broadcast messages and music. Maybe they’re like those annoying video screens on gas pumps. Although the Las Vegas public works is trying to downplay it, the streetlights can also record sound and video. Soon, Las Vegas will have surveillance streetlights.
Late one afternoon last week, I was driving home along some country roads. Cows were grazing in the fields and the darkness quickly descended. Suddenly, I noticed how dark it was along this particular road and it was because there were no streetlights. It was peaceful and calm. I felt safe in the darkness. I’m happy to know there are no surveillance streetlights in my own little corner of the world. Not yet, anyway.
I don’t have any words of wisdom about Veterans Day. What I have are questions, a never-ending litany of questions about freedom, peace, and privacy. They are hard questions and they require critical thinking and contemplation, not the distraction of flag-waving or the blinding beam of surveillance streetlights that purport to keep us safe.
My questions will go unanswered today. I hope they’re heard, understood, and acknowledged (HUA).