The USS Kearsarge

For Memorial Day, Rebecca and I found ourselves on the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault vessel that held multiple boats and helicopters. The enormity of the ship, of which we saw just a small part, is hard to fathom. How can something so big float? Inside the ship sat a variety of weapons and vehicles; children played on them while adults peered on as if admiring a Monet or Renoir at a crosstown museum.

It felt surreal.

Here were these tools, meant to kill people or transport our troops into certain danger, acting the part of jungle-gym. Kids played with guns I don’t think civilians should own, and violated common sense gun safety rules, like never point a gun at a person unless you mean to pull the trigger. They posed alongside gun turrets, affixed to helicopters designed to look menacing. The military deserves our support, but the reasons to join must be more than, “I get to play with cool toys.” These tools protect us and are designed to be incredibly lethal. That deserves our reverence, not joviality.

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