Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sumer's Ending, Can You Weather It?

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated.

~Thomas Paine, 1776

I put up this painting by Norman Rockwell for a few reasons, followed by Thomas Paine's great quote. The painting, "Homecoming GI", is probably my favorite Rockwell. I had heard it was based on a story Rockwell heard where a family had last been told their son was killed or missing in action. They heard nothing more until shortly after when their son arrived.

Even if this isn't true, the painting shows the absolute moment when the family, neighbors, and friends (and secret admirer, now all grown up) release their worry and finally realize it's all over, and they can celebrate. The star in the window shows they never gave up hope or faith.

Not only did the GI have to suffer and endure and sacrifice, so did his family. It was a high price for both. Years of their normal lives lost, stress, the sacrifices made on both fronts. They thought it was worth it. This painting brings tears to my eyes, because just as it shows the elation of this family, many others experienced the depths of despair and heartache learning their loved ones won't be coming home alive.

Thomas Paine actually hit upon a great point. Most of what our generation has came too easy for us. So I urge you to be a bit introspective. I'm not saying what you do isn't hard, or you didn't have to sacrifice to get where you are in life, but how far are you willing to go to make sure the next/younger generation can experience what you did?

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