Friday, May 25, 2012

A Valuable Lesson

A few days ago, I turned on a news channel to get a quick update of what was going on in the world, but instead, I saw on the screen the president giving a speech to award a Medal of Honor to a fallen Vietnam War soldier. Please don’t judge me - I turned the channel! Only to find out that every news channel was showing the same speech. My first impulse was to see if Rachel Ray was on, but then I felt terrible that the man paid the ultimate price in the name of our country, and that the least I could do as a fellow human was to listen to his story and think of him, even if it meant listening to a long speech.

Okay, why do I do this to myself? All I wanted was to take a 10-minute break, and a speech about a fallen soldier is not my definition of a break. So what is the definition of my break? Is it to hear quick points of events chosen to be reported, or is it to listen to divisive and polarizing arguments about ads of the presidential race, or to hear about the terrible but exciting legal and moral mess John Edwards is in? I think I have become a quick-bullet-points-excitement-news-junkie.  Is this a side-effect of being a lawyer? Am I simply afraid of feeling feelings?

Well, I wanted to do what’s right and turned CNN on and listened to the speech. It was about a 22-year-old Specialist Leslie Sabo who joined the U.S. Army and was deployed to Vietnam. In May of 1970, Sabo and his comrades were ambushed in the Cambodian jungle. He knew that the only way to save his comrades was to silence the bunker by pulling his own grenade. And that is exactly what he did. To Leslie Sabo, saving his comrades meant more than his own life.

I cried watching Sabo’s wife receiving the nation’s highest military award for valor on behalf of her husband who heroically died at the age of 22 in 1970.
Leslie Sabo
You may guess what I am going to say next: memorial weekend is coming up, and I have tons of planned fun activities for every minute of all three days. On Friday night I promised Alex to play Battleship after his Tae-kwon-do class. On bike-everywhere-Saturday Alex, Varuzh and I riding to Newport Beach to grab a quick breakfast and walk by the beach. In the afternoon we will be planting an Orchid tree from a seed Alex planted in a small cup and gave me on Mother’s Day. Its bud is already peeking through the soil. On Sunday, I plan to bake strawberry cupcakes for our friends in the morning, and then we are all off to LA to visit them. On Monday I was thinking of going to Rogers Gardens to get grass and gravel for my backyard. And then, of course, it’s a barbecue time!

But most of all, during these days I will tell Alex Lesley Sabo’s story, and we will read and think about many other hero soldiers and about brave things they’ve done, and thank them for being there for us, and celebrate them.

My ten-minute break turned out to be a valuable lesson. And I feel thankful…

With love always,
xo, Zuma A.

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