My father contributed to winning World War II by fighting for American freedom against predominantly German and Japanese dictatorships. He defended our Constitution that grants many freedoms to our republic which brought people immigrating from around the world to enjoy freedoms including of speech, religion, press and assembly. He worked his entire career for the Navy Department so I grew up in the suburbs of Washington D.C.
Our national holiday of Memorial Day is interesting to observe from an international perspective. America helped rebuild Europe with the Marshall Plan and we've enjoyed sustainable freedom for 73 years through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). However, many of these freedoms are increasingly being challenged as international cooperation breaks down by strong nationalist and protectionist views.
One of America's closes allies since the Civil War period has been the southeast Asian country of Thailand - which translated means "Freedom" and is the only country in the region to escape colonial rulers. King Mongkut offered the use of elephants to America in 1861 which is still seen as a gift of friendship. The U.S. operates many military bases in Thailand which became a hub for our soldiers during the Vietnam war.
I recently learned about the Ten Royal Virtues of the recently deceased King Bhumibol (whom I previously posted a blog on 10.29.17 regarding his successful environmental stewardhip). These come directly from the Buddhist tradition known as the Ten Duties of the Government as described in the book What the Buddha Taught:
1. Giving - Non-attachment to wealth and property; consider first the welfare of the people.
2. Morality - Avoid cheating, adultery, lying or using intoxicants.
3. Donation - Sacrifice for the good of the people.
4. Honesty - Never deceive the public.
5. Gentleness - Be kind.
6. Simple life - Avoid a life of luxury.
7. Non-anger - Never bear a grudge against anyone.
8. Harmlessness - Be non-violent to promote peace.
9. Endurance or Patience - Be understanding of others.
10. Right Actions - Be in harmony with the people.
As we celebrate the freedoms fought for by the Greatest Generation, let us seek virtue, peace, and harmony in our inner and outer worlds.