My brother and his girlfriend were visiting NYC this weekend for St. Patrick's Day. When trying to coordinate plans, I mentioned, "I was thinking of going into the city for the peace march."
"When's that?" my brother replied, "Maybe we'll join you. I believe in that."
And so, my tentative outing became a family affair. My mom, not wanting to miss out on the visit and the fun, also decided to join us. In truth, most of the march, we talked about things other than politics. We talked about what we did on Saint Patrick's Day; what it was like driving to New York in the snow on Friday. We joked about how hungover we were or weren't. We talked about our new niece's first birthday and how she can now crawl.
Occassionally, we'd join in the crowd's chants: "What do we want? Peace! When do we want it? Now!" Sometimes my brother would joke, "What do we want? Aspirin! When do we want it? Now!"
It's not that we didn't take the issue seriously. We cared. That's why we were there. But at that moment, it was being together, enjoying family, sharing a laugh, that was more important. Moments like that can be too easily taken for granted. All it takes is a shout for peace, a picture of a U.S. soldier, or the news of another dead Iraqi civilian, to remind us how, vulnerable these moments can be. So in honor of those lost, we cherish these moments, and work in our own small way to make them possible for all.