Today at work, we hosted a luncheon with a speaker who was from the White House. He works in the Public Liaison department. As he was being introduced, it was pointed out to the audience of nearly 400, that two solders were present in the audience. They have just recently returned to the U.S. from a tour of duty in Iraq. They were asked to stand and promptly received a lengthy standing ovation. I almost had to leave the room because I thought I was going to break down and BAWL!
On a side note – I am pro-U.S. military all the way. It is genetic. I am U.S. Patriotic. That is not just something I was taught, I feel like it is something I was born with. I’ve felt it since I was young and it is as much a part of me as anything I’ve ever known. America – with all of its problems and all of its dysfunctions – is STILL the very best place in the world to live.
From our Founding to our present day, America has painfully and successfully worked out Democracy, step by bloody step. Thousands and maybe millions have DIED – willingly putting their lives on the line – so that I can work at my job and live in a country that does not truly discriminate against women. Some will argue with me – but to put it this way: I have no fear of death for walking outside my house without the “appropriate” attire on. I have no fear of punishment for pursuing my education – for teaching my daughters to read – for being a woman. I can blog on the internet without fear of government reprisal or family castigation. No – our freedom is not perfect, and our government is not perfect, but by God’s grace we live in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
I live in a country where practicing my faith may incite ridicule, but not imprisonment, beating, dismemberment, or death. I am not forced to watch my family killed in front of my eyes because I worship God. I am not forced into hiding because I believe the Bible. I am called “narrow-minded” and even a “religious bigot” for my beliefs – but come on – NAMES WILL NEVER HURT ME…
My brother served in Afghanistan and Iraq. He worked on a Navy ship – he helped treat Afghani or Iraqi soldiers who fought alongside American soldiers for democracy.
My father served three tours in Viet Nam. He was spit on when he came home wearing his uniform. He has developed diabetes (which has led to other life-complicating and in the end life-threatening conditions) because of exposure to Agent Orange.
Both of my grandfathers served in WWII, both suffering injuries which affected one until his death and affects the other to this day.
You can hate war. You can hate THIS war. You can hate the President of the United States and Republicans and Capitalists and Conservatives all you want. But if you have the nerve to show disrespect to anyone who has ever served our country with his or her life, you should be thoroughly aSHAMEd of yourself!!!
After the luncheon today, I was informed that a student – whose lunch was paid for by our office and whose college scholarship is funded by our office – refused to put his hand over his heart to the pledge of allegiance.
HELLO – DUDE! You’re in America. You’re an American. You don’t have to love everything about this country, but when you say the Pledge of Allegiance, you’re pledging to uphold what this country stands for – you pledge your life to the best and the brightest and the bravest – to the principles you are being taught, to the education you are receiving – and it is NOT the time or place to make a CHEAP political statement. You live in a country where you have an OPTION to pledge allegiance, not an obligation – and for that alone, you should respect America’s Flag. I’ll chalk this up to immaturity.
Then I was told that this punk kid would not stand or applaud the soldiers. What the HECK is that all about? Are you kidding me?
Let me tell you how this works. A soldier does his duty (and you cannot convince me that anyone who joins the military is “misled” by the offers of college tuition and perks in exchange for the possibility of serving our country and not expect to be called to serve in the midst of a war…) and puts his life on the line for FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, and LIFE, itself. And because he sweats it out on a foreign soil and sometimes bleeds it out on a foreign soil, and because this has been done for a couple hundred years now – YOU – you punk kid have a right to sit on your stupid butt and pretend that they are an embarrassment to you or that you are in some way offended by their presence.
HOW DARE YOU!
You live in a country that is protected by the BRAVE. And because of their bravery and sacrifice – You won’t be killed for not honoring your soldier citizens. Your family won’t be forced into hiding for your apparent “stance” against the government. Your anti-government, anti-war attitude will not result in the loss of life or limb to you or any of your friends. And you can sit on your butt and refuse to pledge allegiance to your country – and you won’t lose a darn thing.
Except respect and regard of those around you. You have lost my regard and any respect I may have ever felt for you. You have offended me to the core of my being. But you won’t be asked to die for your immaturity or mistakes in judgment. Someone else is willing to do that for you.