Today is Memorial Day in the U.S.A. Vice President Kamala Harris sent out a Tweet on Friday and people went ballistic. I suppose given her station/title/position within the U.S. system, she should have thought twice about the post but regardless, this is a holiday to celebrate, and maybe more poignantly, remember that many have died and are currently serving or have served in the Armed Forces to help further the belief that people have certain freedoms, or what on the U.S. Constitution are “inalienable rights”.

I am a child of the 80’s and remember when I couldn’t travel to “Eastern Europe” or “Russia” because they didn’t want to allow it and their citizens were not allowed to travel outside the “Bloc”. That luckily ended in 1989 when the Berlin wall fell. I have since only been to a couple of former Eastern Bloc countries and I can tell you, those that remember the restrictions are not fond of that time when Communism ruled their lives.

What do I want to say about this? First, 2 of my 3 my brothers and cousins served in the U.S. Armed forces. One of my brothers went to the Air Force, one to the Navy and both of my cousins served in the Army. One of them made the 82nd Airborne and nearly made Ranger status. What did I think when I was young and saw this? I was one of those “elitist” that thought you went to the military because you didn’t have other options. I was wrong and that elitist idea is still around today. I suppose as you grow older and rely on your own wits and try to succeed, you realize that the world does not revolve around you and that you need to consider other points of view.

Our family is white, Cuban immigrants and although my aunt had a good job in the U.S., she was fluent in English, albeit with a heavy accent which she has and is proud of to this day; my immediate family grew up on welfare. We were a one parent household, my mother did not speak English, I had the tickets at school for lunch, we didn’t have a car and I didn’t have one until I was 26 since I just didn’t have the money for a car and my priorities were to go to college and travel in the summer. Towards the end of my high school it was just my mom, my grandmother and myself since all of my brothers and cousins were gone. They were all serving during the whole Muammar Gaddafi Mediterranean “conflict”.

So, in a round about way, I want to thank my brothers, cousins and my “brothers and cousins” in the military that serve and give me the luxury of the life I’ve led and continue to lead. Thank you for your service!

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