Grasshopper Soup: When will we ever learn? | SierraSun.com

Grasshopper Soup: When will we ever learn?

Bob Sweigert

Another Memorial Day has come and gone, and the ceremonies honoring those who sacrificed their lives and freedom to secure ours have officially ended. The chairs have been stacked and stored, the microphones have been unplugged, the songs have faded into the night and the letters and stories of soldiers have been read aloud by the usual actors with profound emotion. The speeches have touched our hearts, reminding us of the kind of world we live in. Will the tears ever stop falling?

Many brave men and women have answered the call to fight for freedom and against oppression and tyranny, but, in case it was never mentioned during Memorial Day observances across the country, we should also remember that tens of thousands of brave men and women sacrificed everything unnecessarily because of the major political mistakes, foolish fears and typical hubris of diplomats, presidents, kings and dictators.

How soon we forget the lessons of political blunders like Vietnam, and how quick we are to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

We are captives on a carousel of time. Flowers grow. Young girls pick them and fall in love with young men who become soldiers. The soldiers are buried in graveyards where the flowers grow again, and the circle game goes on generation after generation.

Wars and battles throughout history cost countless lives because a politician or military officer was naïve, turned his back and misinterpreted or ignored the intelligence and made the mistake of thinking he had eliminated the threat when all he did was delay it.

If the common people were in charge of world affairs instead of politicians and diplomats, would history really be any different? As long as human beings walk the earth, there will be conflict, and naked aggression will be met with fierce resistance. Those who fight and die to protect peace and preserve freedom deserve the highest honors.

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Memorial Day weekend is a great time to enjoy the freedom we have, forget about all the conflict and scandal in the world and just goof off. I fled to Sacramento for the Music Festival and to escape the chilly mountain air.

Old Sacramento was closed to vehicles and there was music nearly everywhere you turned. One of the highlights was watching three college-age guys, with two drumsticks each, pound out a symphony of beats on a big pile of junk that included metal and plastic garbage cans, scraps of sheet metal and wine bottles stuck upside down in the holes of plastic milk cartons. They were fantastic! Their percussion extravaganza was well rehearsed and drew an enormous crowd.

The Mike Brown Splash In at Homewood was a great way to spend the Memorial Day morning. I am glad I made it back from Sac in time to watch all the float planes fly in, hit the beach, and fly out again before the weather turned a little sour. It was a thrill for the whole family and was well attended in spite of the sketchy weather.

We always set aside days for special occasions, like Memorial Day. What's wrong with the night? Mother's Night, or Valentine's Night, would be more romantic, especially with a full moon. And we should have a Labor Night for people who work graveyard.

Another highlight of my Memorial Day weekend was the FlexAble Hose demonstration my cousin Clyde gave me in his backyard in Carmichael. The hose didn't kink up at all when expanding, but it did get stuck going around the corner of a wooden plant box. When you turn the water off it's like witnessing a rare biological experiment involving a strange new green organism. It shrinks and wrinkles and cannot reproduce no matter how hard it tries. It shrivels up and crawls back into the corner like an impotent invertebrate.

Hopefully good people will not always do that when confronted with the bad.

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.