November 10, 2010

Thank you, veterans

Politically, it's been an interesting year for cycling in a lot of regions of our great nation. Bike bans, riders rights, advocacy for civil projects, interpretations of laws, and ultimately - last week - voters at the polls, making tough choices that affect us all.

What does this really have to do with veterans? Well, that should be clear; we've all heard the "thank a veteran" rhetoric, and it's relevant today, tomorrow, and yesterday - regardless of context. When you bed down tonight, or tuck your children into bed, somewhere there is a soldier standing a post. Whether it's an analyst sifting intelligence in an Army data-center, someone on a patrol in Afghanistan, or the streets of Baghdad; whether it was Tet '68, or the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula, or on Omaha Beach, or at Cold Harbor, or Valley Forge, there is a relevance to how we live our lives today.

Something as simple as the freedom to ride a bicycle across state lines without so much as a thought for papers or credentials, to ride on public roads, to breathe deep of free air and exercise the mind and body - yes, it's relevant. The right to vote on issues that take away some of those rights which cyclists enjoy? Exercise it. Write. Call. Email. Get worked up. Get passionate. Talk about it in the taverns and bars, and take it to the polls every chance you get. Educate people around you. Talk. Teach.

I can't think of a better way to honor those that served this country than to hang up the car keys for a day and ride a bicycle to work: Yeah, here in KC there is rain in the forecast; consider it a tiny bit of personal sacrifice to honor those that sacrificed everything.

Counter to that, maybe it's a day to fire up the most gasoline-inefficient SUV and drive that to work - by all means. That's American, too, and your choice. Obviously, part of the motivation within these pages is to perhaps pull you away from doing that EVERY day, but I do respect that you have that right and privilege.

For me, the "fight" to convince people otherwise is still a worthy one.

Happy Veteran's Day, everyone.

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