Friday, April 8, 2011

Our Defining Moment?

Have you ever envied your father or grandfather because he fought in a "Great War"? Even though war sucks and is a crime and a sin, I had envied my father and generations like his because they had their "Defining Moment."

I'm not glorifying war here. I am praising team work and togetherness. I am in search of and in awe of a mutually overcome challenge by a team of brothers and sisters.

My father's generation have a shared experience and they shred in a mutually recognizable struggle. It helped his generation - and other generations who struggled and overcame - whether it was a war or the great depression - to have respect and love for each other. It helped them to understand better the humanistic side of our mutually shared misery.

In my dad's generation, it seems like all men were military 
and they posed for pictures like this.

I could be very wrong, but I think this shared defining moment helped shape society and contributed to a brotherhood that made society safer and more prosperous.

In a nutshell, I think a shared defining moment that brings people together in a common cause helps to create brotherly love and works in many ways to build trust and hope in society. Something that is lacking in my generation. Maybe it's why young people today seem so lazy: They've never been truly scared and they've never experienced what it's like to be poor.

My dad (left) stationed in Japan just after WWII

Luckily (or unluckily) for us (depending on how you look at it), people of my generation never had a shared defining moment... We had the 1960's Rock Boom that was a shared experience, but that was different. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and those people took risks with their lives and died. We didn't.

I suppose it might be some sort of perverse pride that shows later when you can say, "I came face to face with death" and be able to say that, while you were scared, you still stood your ground, you looked fear in the face and you didn't blink when the others ran. It is probably even more twisted when you can say - in a quite cocky manner - that "The other lads ran away. Me? I stood there and took it like a man... And look at me! I'm still here!"

Mom's side lost the war. Dad's side won and I was born.

The massive earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region in northern Japan could be one of those defining moments for us. Will we make the extra effort to succeed and overcome? Or will we continue to do things the same as always.

I hope that I can become a part of the experience. And the only way to do that is to become involved. I mean to really become involved. To get my hands dirty. To get up off my ass and get food and supplies up to those poor people and small children myself.

A defining moment after being in combat and his unit suffering huge
casualties. Dad becomes a sergeant.

Of course any help is wonderful and thanked. Donations are sorely needed. But, for me, I need to do this by myself for myself and to be able to say someday that I was a part of the experience not a bystander. I need to fulfill a hunger in my heart. I don't want to say, "I saw those people suffering on TV", "Others are helping." I want to be a part of it. I want to share the suffering and pain.... I want to build a brotherhood.

People of my generation had no heroes. I probably can never be a hero but at least I can go to where heroes are born and become a part of it all.

I want to grab this chance to live. To really live! In a world of TV and Internet where wars and strife and suffering are viewed from a thousand miles away on a screen, in this case, I want to live; I want to be a part of it. I want to say, "This was a defining moment in my life. I was there!"


Poots said...


Very nice.

Here are some good words that share your sentiment:

“…A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in…” --- Greek Proverb

"...A person's true wealth is the good he or she does in the world..." --- Mohammed

“...A man does what he must – in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures – and that is the basis of all human morality...” --- President John F. Kennedy

And finally, one from your home:

“…Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare…” --- Japanese Proverb

I wish you the best in your quest for your own ‘defining moment.’

Take care my friend.


Andy "In Japan" said...

Check out this article from Japan Times. The American girl has exactly correct attitude toward staying on in Japan and helping out. No pity fest!

Anonymous said...

and then another quote: "do what's best for yourself and fuck everyone else." -- A. Rand

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