New Year's Eve I was at Riverside National Cemetery counting birds, y'know, coots, wigeons, gulls, and Canada geese. But just before that I was visiting the graves of my parents and my friend's father. Lynn's dad's birthday is coincidentally New Year's. He was a courageous Japanese American who volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II, at a difficult time when other Americans doubted their loyalty and incarcerated them in desolate camps.
National cemeteries are awe-inspiring. The first national cemetery I visited as a child was Punchbowl, which is officially called National Cemetery of the Pacific. It is in Honolulu, Hawaii. Soldiers from World War II and the wars in Korea and Vietnam are buried there.
Every American should be required to visit a national cemetery to be reminded that war is not a video game. Dead American soldiers can't come back to play another day. Politicians should be held accountable if the U.S. ever goes to war before diplomatic options have been fully explored.
Those who have died in action do so for many reasons. But their sacrifices and those of their families buy time for you to keep working toward your goals, dreams, and ideals.
A New Year has started. ?íBienvenidos, 2016! Yoda's message to you is, "No tomorrow, there is. Procrastinate, do not."
Chase after your dreams now!
Kat Avila, Contributing Writer:
Kat Avila writes on Latino, Asian, and crosscultural diversity. For you birders, her first bird of 2016 was a loud twittering-at-length male House Finch. So, the themes of the year are verbal expression and "does well in flocks."