Memorial Day is a time for hot dogs, bbq and getting together with family for many. Karyn and I try not to schedule shows for this weekend for that reason. We like to get caught up with our spring planting and cleaning, and to spend a little time at home. But it’s important to pause and reflect on the reason for this holiday, like so many others, that commemorate those who have given their lives for our dear country.
Rather than eulogize our soldiers, seaman and aviators, who get enough press around this time anyway, I’d like to comment on a story I heard on NPR last week, on the Diane Rehm show. One of the daily guests was Alexandra Fuller, a South African author transplanted to Wyoming. Alexandra has written about soldiers in South Africa, but the story she has most recently chosen to tell is of Colton H. Bryant, a third-generation roughneck from Evanston, Wyoming.
In “The Legend of Colton H. Bryant“, she poignantly covers the highlights of this remarkable young man’s life, and death from a fall on an oil rig near Pinedale. She spoke with his family and friends, and wrote a remarkable account of his life in a way that brought tears to my eyes. I think that it is very important that we not forgot those who work tirelessly in dangerous occupations to bring us such luxuries as water, energy, bridges, food. These men and women toil in often hazardous conditions, for long hours and for little recognition. On the rigs in Wyoming, several men lost their lives in the space of 18 months, due in part to lax safety regulations and procedures on the part of the drilling companies. And the oil companies reported record profits for the past three years, in the face of rapidly rising costs to consumers! Shame, shame.
But this is not a rant aimed at the oil companies, the wildcat drillers, or OPEC. Rather, it’s a simple plea to keep in mind how the water gets to your tap, how the gas gets in your car, how the heat finds your radiator. Many times, it because your brothers and sisters are spending their lives to bring it to you. Give thanks, because we live in the greatest country in the world. Don’t forget it.