Because I have a lot of nerdy friends and wanted in on the social references that they made, I bought a graphic novel that came highly recommended. But this post isn't about that.
The adult comic book was originally published by installment in 1986, and was written in 1985, which was set as the present, with a lot of reflection on the previous half century, at which point it had diverged from our real timeline.
What was fascinating, though, was how scared we were of pending war. In this book, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan seemed clearly to indicate that, without some kind of major interference, an invasion of Pakistan would occur. And from the man on the street to the POTUS, World War III seemed inevitable.
But it was just another timeline, in an imagined universe, by a good writer and his illustrator.
Friends, I remember being afraid, as a little kid, of nuclear war. I remember being afraid of something that our nation couldn't control, coming in and taking our lives away from us.
As the 1990's came, and the USSR fell, the nuclear threat (or the fear of it) diminished. I grew into adulthood. I had the opportunity to decide my future.
At no time in my adult life have I felt afraid that our nation would be attacked on a wide scale. Sure, individual attacks can and have happened, but think about how indignant we were to have even those occur. When you attack our country, there are major consequences. It's not a good idea. We send guys like John Shirley and his mates over to kick your butt.
We don't think a whole lot about our military, because of how effective they are at letting us lead our quiet normal lives. I'm not saying that it's right, but I'm pointing out how well they do their job: we as a nation get to continue to be self-absorbed and silly, without paying attention to what our military really does, because they're just that good.
For about 364 days of the year, it's actually okay to be self-absorbed, and not think of who guards our freedoms.
Today, we think of our soldiers, our marines, our sailors, our airmen, and our guardsmen who gave everything. Because we really don't have to. You can bet that their families think about them a lot.