[family tradition]


At a Pennsylvania turnpike rest stop, I notice the Blue Star Memorial Highway sign outside the building. The deep green is reminiscent of an army uniform, and the blue star a likely reference to blue star banners—popular symbols for parents with children in active military service during WWI.

During my half hour lunch break at work, I go for walks to the post office or grocery store. Some days I order library books to be delivered to the Carnegie branch near my office. On the front lawn of the library is a WWII memorial, tall with fake flowers stuck in the grass at the bottom. More than once I’ve stopped to read the names, and I notice these objects more these days despite how seamlessly they blend into the landscape. Symbols of militarization are all around us. This is normal, we think.

A recent Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was patrolled by New York City police officers on horses, helicopters in the sky, and dogs trained to sniff for traces of explosives. Below the Charlie Brown float were men in black masks holding assault rifles. An American family tradition.