Monday, May 31, 2010

Roger Berliner on Memorial Day

Following are Council Member Roger Berliner's remarks at the 39th Annual Bethesda Memorial Day Observance.


Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning to you. Thank you for inviting me once again to offer a very few words. There has been much press coverage of the way in which political figures running for office have talked about their service eligible years. Some have been quite disappointing to many of us. As a public official seeking re-election, it made me reflect on my own short story and how I would talk about it.

I grew up and came of age in the anti-war movement. Love, not war, was the answer. When I was of draft age, there was a lottery to determine whether you would be inducted. On the day of the lottery, I drew a very high number which meant I would not be called. And that was a good day. I was equal parts scared and opposed to the Vietnam War. I don’t know what I would have done had I been called to serve. I came from a privileged background and not a single friend of mine, in high school or college, served in Vietnam. The closest I came to war was protesting it. And I still protest it. I have not given up on the hope that there comes a day when we do not have to send our young men and women into harm’s way, a day when we are able to resolve our differences without dying over them.

But that day seems a long way off right now, and we do live in a world where there are people who are willing to die to harm us, many of us. And so I, along with you, honor those who serve us, who have served us, and who will serve us in the future, and ask God’s blessing over them, their families and loved ones. We can not repay the sacrifice of those who wear the uniform on our behalf. All we can do, all we must do, is remember them and be grateful to them.