As a retired USAF Major with 27 years of service on three continents I often defer to others to speak about service, honor, country. My father was a humble man never speaking of his WWII experience and several purple hearts as was his father a decorated WWI veteran. My father-in-law’s Korean experience he suffered without complaint. When it comes to this country and this flag however, I am deeply moved by expressions of patriotism, service to others, and the American belief in equality for everyone. What follows therefore, is one such display by my daughter Rebecca. All my living children, all 5 of them, are very verbal, and very proud, and I am most proud of every one of them! So if you will, take a moment to read this passage my daughter my wife Monica and I feel strongly about.
I do not usually blog nor do I find myself needing to write something about politics or individuals feelings on a specific topic but something happened the other day that got under my skin and has bothered me ever since. I was driving home after work one night and on the radio this particular channels DJ was talking about the women’s gymnastics team currently competing in the Olympics. His statement was “So there I sat on the couch eating my sleeve of Oreos when the women’s team won gold. I felt a tear begin to roll down my cheek when I thought—wow these women have worked their whole lives for this… wait their whole lives?? They are like only 17 and who really cares anyway so I changed the channel.” I was outraged—who really cares? Every night I get off work and sit up until 5 AM with my sister watching the highlights of the Olympics I would say I care—not because of the sports that are being played but because it is the US that is playing.
So I started thinking about things… what happened to us as a nation. At one point we rallied behind one another and there was a sense of belonging- a sense of pride. In 1996 the women gymnastics team did something that most thought was impossible—they won gold and we, as a nation, cheered them along. The women’s soccer team won gold and it felt like as a nation we were in those stands as each one of those ladies experienced what can only be defined as excited delirium. Now to a different side of this same topic… back in 1994 my father made the decision to retire from the United States Air Force. He retired as a Major and we moved to Tennessee. Now I was never in the military but we were a military family so by association we served as well- every 3 or 4 years packing up and leaving our friends for a whole new place and often times a new country. I loved every minute of it and I have a profound respect for the military and our country because of it. After 9/11 we loved our military and would clap for them coming home and thank them if we saw them in uniform out in a store. Now… we do not say a word. Few coming home celebrations. Why? Because we do not agree with the war that our nation was involved in. You think this is the first time this has happened?? Did we stand behind the Vietnam war? That was a huge upset to our nation—first time we ever aired it on TV as well. We had peace rallies and granted some did protest some of the military but we supported our men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our way of life. We may not have agreed with what was happening or what we were seeing but we still supported those who protected us.
And now that I have you thinking along those lines– not only are we losing respect for the military but what about the police, firefighters, deputy officers, emt, and all other volunteer agencies? Today’s youth view them as expendable property. Where have we gone awry as a country? What has changed so dramatically to the point of hate? Instead of seeing “posts” about how great our country is doing in the Olympics or how much we love and support those civil servants we flood the internet with bickering back and forth about chicken. Everyone is entitled to their opinion—thanks to our military and those people putting their lives on the line day in and day out to protect your way of life—and that Christian based company has a right to have an opinion as well. It seems like every decade has their battle be it race, gender, sexual preference, AIDS, education reform, clothing, or whatever else we have fought for and against throughout the years.
9/11 New Yorkers banded together like a tight knit Italian family and helped pull each other from the ruble—literally and figuratively. Hurricane Katrina—we came together to help New Orleans with thousands of volunteers. Columbine, Aurora shooting, and every other major tragedy we have pulled together as a nation. Maybe that love for country is still there… somewhere buried down deep. We need to pull together now—support our “family” members over in Great Britain playing for us, pouring out everything they have to win for the United States of America. Maybe next time you see a police officer, firefighter, emt, deputy, and military you thank them for their work because without them chaos would prevail.
So what was the purpose of this long winded diatribe? To say that as a civil servant, former teacher, and military family member that I wish we still had the pride for our nation that we once had. That I wish we would stop obsessing over what a restaurant is doing or the reasons we got involved into a war, as we do not make those decisions, but rather support those who defend our freedom. And last but certainly not least—God Bless the United States of America