Saturday, November 14, 2009


The other day, I was asserting my liberal-ness to Dave, saying that there really isn't anything that is conservative about me. And I like to think that I am on the liberal side of things...

One thing that David said to me in response was that I am sort of conservative in the way that I like tradition. Without thinking, I knew he was right. More than loving traditions, I respect and am humbled by tradition.

As a Japanese girl, I learned that traditions were sacred. They have been tempered with time and they are not to be messed with. Modernism (technologies and all), are fantastic, they make our lives easier and more efficient to live; they aren't the same as traditions. You respect your elders. You go to the temple on New Years so that the Gods will give you good things in the year to come. Japan is deep seated in beautiful, intricate traditions that make my Westernized head spin.

It's the same thing with the United States Marine Corps. Ok HUGE jump...

Backing up... Last week, I went to one of the balls held in honor of the 234th United States Marine Corps Birthday. My Sergeant and I got dressed up and went to a festive celebration. Much of it, as expected were formalities (i.e., meeting his superiors, learning to say "Happy Birthday" to every Marine-it's ALL of their birthdays, sitting and standing during the ceremony). But I was deeply moved by the traditions. It was clear to me that it was an honor for each of us to be standing/sitting in that room... A room full of Men whose job it is to protect our country. It was an Honor to be able to celebrate their legacy and tradition of the USMC.

To some, it might have been a party, where there was food, drinks and dancing. But for me, it was more than that. For one, it was a huge learning experience. It was the first time, I'd stepped out with my Marine at a function for the Marine Corps. It was also that I could feel how proud David was. Proud of his fellow Marines, proud to be a Marine, proud of the time that he has served, proud to follow in the footsteps of those awesome dudes... And for that I was proud of him. I think many guys his age are jokers, slackers and generally not so serious. I think many Marines might be like that. But every last one of them was quiet and was part of this said formality. I like that even when it's forced or required, that it happens. For our society where formality and traditions evade our daily lives, I was proud to be standing in a room where the culture was respect for such traditions.

Another thing that made me think was when the Guest of Honor, a Colonel, was speaking and talking about tradition, etc., mostly addressing the Marines, he stopped to thank the spouses. Noting that their support was necessary and not always easy nor what we expected. It was nice to hear that somebody so high up recognized the other people of the service.

For some of the girls in the room, it might have been a Cinderella moment; to be able to be on a guy (a handsome one with his Dress Blues on)'s arm in a dress that would usually only be allowed at prom. I hoped that they didn't take the ceremony lightly. That their guy's service wasn't a joke or a part of a romantic thing that they did (fulfilling the idea to date a guy in uniform). Because if they were, they will be in for a treat when the unit goes on a month long training mission, or worse deploys.

I don't know what it's like to date somebody exclusively but relatively casually, and especially not with somebody in the service. Not knowing where you stand is a difficult thing in general and having a guy in the military kind of solidifies things either way...

That was a huge tangent.

Anyway, traditions are beautiful...
As Dave and I start thinking about the future, I also think about traditions that I'd like to start for our family. First, because I don't feel like I had too many of those growing up. Second, I think it's the things that keep families bonded. And third, they are the memories that you think of most when the times have passed. So we are coming up with traditions for us. For the holiday season, to start.

Ok, so I concede. If loving and respecting traditions is sort of conservative, I give. I am sort of conservative. But I still love being on this side of my issues.


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