Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Patriotism- Is it Dying in the Land of the Free

In the city of Riverview there is a cemetery out on Sibley Road. It is like thousands of plots of land given to bury the dead and bring friends and family to remember the lost. The earth that covers the resting place of the thousands does not recognize the entombed as those who walk above do. The earth knows nothing about status, money, crime, goodness, philanthropy or greed. The size, or lack of, a monument or simple stone is not recognized either. Walking around a cemetery a person would probable have no idea of who might be underfoot. Unless of course, you were familiar with the area where you were walking.

The cemetery in Riverview, Ferndale Cemetery, is no different to countless thousands. It is different to people who have loved ones at rest there. It is different for me and my family. Some very special people in my life have Ferndale earth as a blanket. Ferndale earth is a blanket for a sister in-law, uncle, brother, mother and father. Even though it has been a few years I can walk directly to the monuments that mark their graves. I can't see the monuments from the two-track, due to cemetery rules all markers are now level to the ground for ease of mowing.

In a couple of weeks cemeteries across America, and foreign fields, will stand out as American flags, stapled to small round wood rods, give testimony to what makes America great. Monumental flags will point people to the resting places of the brave who served from Lexington-Concord to the mountains and desolation of Afghanistan. When taps are played many will shed tears. When the rifles fire in perfectly disciplined unison the scene sensitive still shudder or twitch. I know from first hand experience, tears from taps and shuddering from the rifles.

Brave men and women across the land and the ages were willing to face danger and death so the dream of real freedom would live on. That freedom, to think, talk, gather, worship, elect government, is so precious that the cost is blood. My brother Tag served in the Marines during the Viet Nam War, he died in December of 1969 from leukemia. Many of my friends will remember that ordeal he went through. My father served in World War II, in the jungles of the Philippines and New Guinea. He witnessed what was never talked about and carried in his body the reminders of malaria and jungle rot. I will always seek to honor them and the sacrifice they made.

Today it seems that patriotism is not in vogue. I can't pinpoint any particular reason, I suspect there are many. The evidence is obvious, attend any sporting event and count the number of people who do not take off their hats, talk and laugh and seem oblivious to what is happening. How about singing the National Anthem, even a superstar screws it up. There is even an alternate for people who do not like the original. How many of us even know that there are four verses to the anthem ? The fourth verse is quite militant in word and image, "Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto, "In God is our trust" And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

For a period of time I lived in a land that was ruled by a single party socialist government. The common people had no voice, yes they voted, for the only person running for president. They lived at the mercy of a corrupt government and a military that was as bad. While we lived there an attempted coup took place and the dead lay in the street around the government building to remind people of the cost. This country of ours in not perfect, far from it. But, it is the best form of government on the planet today.

Now, many people will not like a very personal opinion of mine in regards to our country. My opinion is this: If you don't appreciate freedom, if all you can do is complain and moan, if the sight of our flag and our brave men and women in uniform bothers you then, MOVE OUT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

1 comment:

  1. My cousin's son is trying to convince everyone not to vote in the next election because he's fed up with the folks that have been elected. That's him. Not me. I'm on your side of the fence, Tedd! Not much of a flag-waver, not "my country is always right", but I am an American and proud to be so. There are things I wish we hadn't done as a country-- there are things I wish we weren't doing now. But I can voice my opposition, even occasionally be heard :-)