I got as close as I could this week to get these shots.  It was important to me to capture at least the first picture.  These I took at the American Cemetery in Luxemburg this past Sunday. It was a fantastic place to visit and honor those who sacrificed the most for the freedom of our allies. 

 

 

Contrary to popular belief, my days do not revolve around gardening and sewing.  I do have a day job, which I love and sometimes pinch myself in disbelief that I get to do what I do, AND get paid to do it. 

I work to integrate the actions of our government agencies (State Department, Defense, USAID, Commerce, Agriculture, Etc) in overseas and homeland operations.  We do this by practicing and exercising what we agree to do and then execute it in the real world!  To maintain a level of understanding of what is really going on out there, I receive and read situation reports and talk with the boots on the ground in regards to what our departments and agencies are doing in the name of democracy, human rights and freedom.  I received a report with the above picture attached and it made me elated. 

Those men are US Marines delivering humanitarian assistance supplies, provided by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).  For fear of stepping up on a slippery soap box, look at this picture objectively.  Those men are our US military helping, not swinging guns around shooting people for no good reason, like our fine private media outlets want us to believe all US military does overseas. 

How empowering and heartening it is to see any proof that our military and agencies are working together for the greater good, using their resources for good, and giving the people of the world support when called to do so.  The partnerships between our military and State Department, USAID and other agencies is a dynamic one becoming more integrated with every Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan and bill moving through Congress.

I know many people in my generation believe that change isn’t occurring at levels necessary.  I agree, but Rest assured, change and growth is and at the micro-level.  The so-what of this picture, is not a political statement, just one to show that in this world….Goodness is happening.

 

Sandra Day O’Connor…..Yes, I was at the World Forum on the Future of Democracy and I turned to the 88 year old man beside me and excitedly uttered that statement.  He looked at me like I had three heads.  Either way, the evening was perfection. 

I sat in the audience at William and Mary Hall, nibbling on  my Tutti-Frutti Jelly Belly Jelly Beans (from the Wythe Candy Store in Merchant Square) listening to Sandra Day and Larry Eaglebuger (the Secretary of State when the Berlin Wall came down – not bad for the old resume’) talk to us about Democracy.  It was incredible.  The major take-away was Democracy is a process, a seed that we have to teach, nurture and participate in to make it work.  Fascinating!  I called my friend Joyce right away after the event, breathless and excited, because I got to meet the entire panel and that wink from Jim Lehrer would make any gal weak in the knees

What I was surprised by was the lack of young people in my age group being missing.  There were plenty of idealistic undergrads and tribes of old folks, but the people who are out busy living life, paying bills, taking care of their young children and hoping to stay fit and thin were all absent.  If you looked out into the audience I was this brunette spot in a sea of grey.  I was saddened and disappointed, that is the idealist in me still raring its head.  But it is that idealism that keeps me hoping that we will care enough when it counts to take helm at being the faces and leaders of this country. 

Either way, I left the forum with breathless excitement that even little old me or you can make democracy work for us here in the US and foster the great ideas globally and locally.