The Human Spirit Knows No Border

Ryan - Vista, California
Entered on June 7, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

I believe that national borders are nothing more than decorative walls. As hard as anyone tries, there is no way to separate the human race into different groups. We are all too alike in too many ways to have a large piece of concrete tell us differently.

My brother Joey served his tour of duty for the US Army in Seoul, Korea. Part of his job was to patrol the de-militarized zone and make sure that terrorist enemies weren’t crossing the border from the North. One day, one of his friends brought a video camera along, as more of a joke than anything else.

The zoom function on the camera was particularly strong, so strong in fact that you could see right into North Korea very clearly. And on that videotape, clearly visible to this day, are two North Korean guards with large machine guns on their backs, patrolling for a second with the most serious looks on their faces. But upon seeing the fact that they are on candid camera, they laugh heartily, pretend as if they are going to fire their weapons, slap each other on the back, and move on.

As if the relations that have torn the two countries apart for fifty years mean absolutely nothing. What stands to this day is video evidence that even our “enemies” enjoy a good joke.

I myself have lived on both sides of this border, this US-Mexico border that is the cause for so much debate and discomfort in our society. But I can honestly and confidently say, that despite the language barriers, the cultural differences, and the economic situations, the people on either side of this border are really the same. I have exchanged anecdotes and folk wisdom with both a businessman in Columbia, South Carolina and a fisherman in Popotla, Baja California Norte. But as different as those two men may be, they both had the exact same philosophy on life: You do what you do, and you do that to the best of your ability.

It’s that kind of wisdom, that kind of life-affecting ideal, that will transcend any border. Our lives on earth are so much greater than the lines on a map. I believe that as much as we physically wall ourselves away from each other, the human spirit knows no border.