Something I know, as a pro shopper, is that going to the grocery store on the evening of a major holiday during an NBA playoff game will assure me clear aisles and a peaceful food gathering experience. And so it was at the Safeway. All the extraneous personnel had gone home for the day -- no Meat Man, no Customer Service Girl, no Hard Rock Mom checker. Just me, a few single dudes doing a beer run, and the low-rung employees that had to come in.

I filled the cart with copious amounts of fresh fruit, creatively-packaged snack items, those teeny cans of Diet Coke, and something I had never seen before: Johnsonville bratwurst patties. Like hamburgers, but made from brats. I am not sure how I am going to cope. Do they make hot dog patties? My mind reeled at this idea.

$376.74 later, I pushed the heavy cart out to my car, and unloaded the groceries into the back, and I thought about just being able to walk into this place and buy anything and everything I need and want from a food selection that would make most people in the world weep with overwhelmed joy.

Memorial Day, in a suburb of Seattle, Washington, 2009. I'm laying in the sun listening to satellite radio and grocery shopping, my children are healthy and safe, and despite all its flaws and problems I feel like I am fortunate to live in the United States. If he were still alive, my dad would have played his trumpet in the VFW band in some small town Wisconsin parade, or would have wished he still could. He was very proud of his service in WWII.

War, what it is good for? I know what I think about it, but when it comes down to it, what do I know? Absolutely nothing. I know I think it is base and horrible and often the ugly game of the power-mad with nothing but misery as the outcome for the people who fight and the people being fought over. I know I think we can try to avoid it, but we can't ever stop it. But I can't know what war is truly like. I have been protected from it all my life.

I will leave tonight's last word to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with the transcript from his famous 1936 Chautauqua speech -- a great deal of truth and relevance in his words today, wherever we are on Memorial Day, 2009.

We are not isolationists except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war. Yet we must remember that so long as war exists on earth there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war.

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line—the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.

I have passed unnumbered hours, I shall pass unnumbered hours thinking and planning how war may be kept from this nation.

I wish I could keep war from all nations, but that is beyond my power. I can at least make certain that no act of the United States helps to produce or to promote war. I can at least make clear that the conscience of America revolts against war and that any nation which provokes war forfeits the sympathy of the people of the United States. . . .

The Congress of the United States has given me certain authority to provide safeguards of American neutrality in case of war.

The President of the United States, who, under our Constitution, is vested with primary authority to conduct our international relations, thus has been given new weapons with which to maintain our neutrality.

Nevertheless—and I speak from a long experience—the effective maintenance of American neutrality depends today, as in the past, on the wisdom and determination of whoever at the moment occupy the offices of President and Secretary of State.

It is clear that our present policy and the measures passed by the Congress would, in the event of a war on some other continent, reduce war profits which would otherwise accrue to American citizens. Industrial and agricultural production for a war market may give immense fortunes to a few men; for the nation as a whole it produces disaster. It was the prospect of war profits that made our farmers in the west plow up prairie land that should never have been plowed but should have been left for grazing cattle. Today we are reaping the harvest of those war profits in the dust storms which have devastated those war-plowed areas.

It was the prospect of war profits that caused the extension of monopoly and unjustified expansion of industry and a price level so high that the normal relationship between debtor and creditor was destroyed.

Nevertheless, if war should break out again in another continent, let us not blink [at) the fact that we would find in this country thousands of Americans who, seeking immediate riches-fool's gold-would attempt to break down or evade our neutrality.

They would tell you-and, unfortunately, their views would get wide publicity-that if they could produce and ship this and that and the other article to belligerent nations the unemployed of America would all find work. They would tell you that if they could extend credit to warring nations that credit would be used in the United States to build homes and factories and pay our debts. They would tell you that America once more would capture the trade of the world.

It would be hard to resist that clamor. It would be hard for many Americans, I fear, to look beyond, to realize the inevitable penalties, the inevitable day of reckoning that comes from a false prosperity. To resist the clamor of that greed, if war should come, would require the unswerving support of all Americans who love peace.

If we face the choice of profits or peace, the Nation will answer—must answer—“we choose peace.” It is the duty of all of us to encourage such a body of public opinion in this country that the answer will be clear and for all practical purposes unanimous. …

We can keep out of war if those who watch and decide have a sufficiently detailed understanding of international affairs to make certain that the small decisions of each day do not lead toward war, and if, at the same time, they possess the courage to say "no" to those who selfishly or unwisely would let us go to war.

Of all the nations of the world today we are in many ways most singularly blessed. Our closest neighbors are good neighbors. If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood.

We seek to dominate no other nation. We ask no territorial expansion. We oppose imperialism. We desire reduction in world armaments.

We believe in democracy; we believe in freedom; we believe in peace. We offer to every nation of the world the handclasp of the good neighbor. Let those who wish our friendship look us in the eye and take our hand.