No I am not going to talk about how I walked around my apartment complex for a half hour. Not today.
On this Memorial Day I wish to comment about two things: 1) people complaining about the Flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, the National Anthem, and anything having to do with showing respect to the country they live in. 2) the current state of the United States Armed Forces.
First topic: It seems that once a week I have to read some article about…
1) somebody complaining about displaying the Stars and Stripes ANYWHERE,
2) somebody making a hot mess when singing the National Anthem,
3) somebody wanting to change or abolish the National Anthem,
4) the ongoing debate over the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance,
5) whether or not to perform the Pledge, regardless of the phrasing…
By now, you should get my drift. In the last 26 years since I graduated Richwoods High School in Peoria, IL, we have graduated a generation of people who seem to have no obligation to respect their own country. Never mind that it is still (?) the most free republic left in the world. All everybody wants to focus on and bitch about is how America stepped on the backs on Native Americans, Negroes, women, immigrants (legal and illegal) on the way to greatness. Instead of learning from the bad in America’s past, we use those events as a crutch and an excuse to whine about damn near everything related to this country.
“I don’t wanna take my hat off for the National Anthem.”
“Dude, do I have to say the Pledge of Allegiance? Can I, like, do it without saying,’under God?'”
“Sir, you can’t fly the American flag here.”
2) On a daily basis, our Armed Forces of the United States are being run by people who have little to no practical experience serving with or working for our nation’s military. We have people who have never enlisted or been commissioned (as an officer) in any branch of service dictating and pontificating to those who do. We have a legislative branch and a Department of Defense imposing rules and regulations on our military that have little to nothing to do with fighting and winning a war.
Worst of all, we have two Vietnam veterans who are leading the charge to build a weaker, less effective military. Charlie Hagel may be the worst Secretary of Defense since Robert McNamara during the Vietnam War. His every action broadcasts a weakness to our current and potential foes; every time he speaks, I cringe. John Kerry? This is our senior diplomat?
Look, folks…the reason why we maintain a standing military is to fight and win wars. That military wins wars by KILLING PEOPLE AND BREAKING THINGS IN A VIOLENT MANNER. It isn’t nice, and it isn’t pretty, and it’s not like the video games or movies. Maintaining a military requires having the best possible people who are morally, mentally, and physically fit to fight and win a war, regardless of what job their respective service gives them. Such a calling sadly requires that some of our sons and daughters might go forward and either not come back whole, or not at all. We as a nation and a people must take care of those Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, Sailors, Soldiers, and Marines who come back broken from war. We as a nation must remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for our freedom.
For those of us worrying about our military-industral complex, here’s a little secret: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Muslim theocracies and would be tyrants worldwide have their own military-industrial complexes, and they’re not about to start beating swords onto plowshares for anybody.
For those of us who think going to war in Afghanistan and Iraq was a waste of time, money and lives, here’s another little secret: We did so to send a message. That message? “You bring war to our doorstep, we will return the favor a thousandfold.”
For those of us complaining about the American flag, the National Anthem, or anything related to showing honor and respect to America…today you need to greet any and every active duty serviceman or servicewoman, greet any veteran or retiree of the Armed Forces, and say “Thank you for serving and protecting our Nation.” Then you need to attend any Memorial Day events, specifically ones that actively remember those who lost their lives in war. After all that, you need to reflect on how you have the right to do what you do and say what you say because somebody took an oath, put on a uniform, grabbed a weapon, and went to a foreign land to DIE TO HELP PROTECT THE FREEDOMS AND RIGHTS YOU HAVE.
The point was made recently that America has always fought wars as “the away team” during most of the Nation’s history. Our Armed Forces are built and maintained, and our servicemen and women are trained so we will never have to be the “home team.”
Enjoy your Memorial Day. Remember the fallen, and give thanks for what they have done.