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I published this off the main feed because I didn't think it belonged there. If you are reading this, chances are you're reading because you know me already, and don't need me to explain myself an further. I was involved in an e-mail conversation with someone I know, and we were discussing the current political state in this country. Here was big reply to discuss what the 4th meant to me:

I went to see fireworks yesterday. I was very close to them, closer than I’ve been in my entire life. The sky was simply alive with light. The entire show was performed to a soundtrack of music appropriate to the day. “Stars and Stripes Forever”, “God Bless America”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, and others. Then came the theme songs for each of the Armed Forces. However, it was when the Benny Goodman track came on that my heart broke. I was struck by a thought that cause me great sadness, the kind of sadness that one feels when one finds out that an older relative has died. Grief, pure and simple.

 

Grief, you see, because I immediately thought to myself:

 

Where are triumphant songs of my generation, and those of my parents?

 

They aren’t there because there aren’t any, really. A few (Toby Keith comes to mind), sure.

 

We treat WWII like our forgotten grandmother. We drag her out of a dirty, nameless nursing home and shove a new dress cut of the same material and pattern as the year before. We paint her face with new makeup, but still her wrinkles are funny to the young who scorn her and treat her with contempt, never considering all that she’s done for them that they will never know. When we are all done taking turns talking about how proud we are to have her, we rip the dress off of her and shove her back in the home to remain forgotten for another year. We then get back to the business of ignoring the crumbling of all her sacrifice bought us and all it symbolizes. We’ve so much bread to eat, and so many circuses to watch….after all, American Idol is back for another season and the NFL Championship must be won again.

 

Our parents’ generation don’t have any real songs of triumph because that generation decided that being American was a sin, a wrong thing. They spent their years finding ways to despise those people who give all to provide them the very freedoms they fail to value. Our parents generation decided that it was more important to get along than to excel. Why lead the world when you can be just like every other country? Somewhere, they decided it was better to live on their knees than die on their feet. This attitude continues on in our generation, and even the ones beyond. When the show started, the announcer asked that we join in saying the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by singing our National Anthem. Several teens around us actually mocked those of us who were saying it. They made jokes while we sang, and made mock fights with each other. To this day, after 12 years service in the Navy, I still get chills when I sing the National Anthem. I look at the flag, and I remember standing at attention on boot camp in August. Florida’s summer sun was brutal. I remember looking at the flag and thinking “He we are, you and me”…it made me proud (and sweaty) to be there. To this day, it is like visiting with an old friend, and never something I do out of obligation but rather something I do out of honour. I cannot imagine someone being raised without the basic respect for the country that is America. Not the government, mind you. As you know, I feel government is a necessary evil, and we must do everything in our power to minimize its impact on daily life. I didn’t serve in the military for the government’s sake, but for the sake of my people. That’s the America that isn’t respected.

 

I sat there in the now depressing flashes of light, and thought about the way the Revolutionary soldiers gave everything they had and more, proud to die free. I read somewhere they marched in the snow without shoes, and often bled. A trail of blood going back two hundred years and more. I was embarrassed when I asked myself would they have done it, if they had any idea how little we would eventually value for what they fought. What’s worse is what happens when I try to express these views to most people. At best, I get the uncomfortable, kindly look of a person who thinks they will just let the subject die before the crazy person gets too upset.

 

All this is true, and yet, our politicians are more interested in the scramble for personal power than in protecting our way of life. I send a heartfelt letter concerning issues to my senator, and I get a form letter back, if I get any reply at all. Our Speaker of the House values the Constitution only so far as it serves her purposes, rather than be her guide on her purposes. Another Congressman wants to institute 24 hour observation of the people “for their own good”. Our Supreme Court grants government employees censorship powers over our citizens without consideration for locale in the interest of protecting the children from “dangerous ideas”. This same court decides that it is appropriate to allow government to usurp personal ownership rights in the interest of “the great good” and “public benefit”.  And on and on it goes….

 

I can only hope to effect some change, and raise my children to understand what it is to be American with the hope they, too, will resist the urge to become a sheep. However, I also hope that if America is to fall, I hope I die before I see it.

Posted on Thursday, July 5, 2007 3:53 PM | Back to top


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