Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans' Day

     It's November 11, the day the guns went silent in Europe in 1918 during WW I--known for years as "Armistice Day" and now as "Veterans' Day". I like the name change--we should honor all veterans, not just those who fought in a particular conflict.
     WW II vets are dying out. The survivors of Jimmy Doolittle's "Raiders" who struck at the heart of the Japanese Empire early in the war, are down to four and have decided to end their reunions this year and drink the toast while they still can, rather than wait to dwindle to two.
     I am a 'war baby'. "The war" wasn't history while I was growing up but rather something with which we lived every day, particularly my friends and classmates whose fathers never came home. I became accustomed to seeing men--older but not old--selling poppies on downtown streets as this day of remembrance approached. Actually, it was a donation rather than a sale. I always bought one, and I still do whenever I happen to have the opportunity.
     My generation went to Viet Nam. I don't criticize those who fled the country or protested out of true conviction, but I feel a deep and abiding shame about how those who didn't burn their draft cards were treated when they came home. And, on principle, I wouldn't pay to watch a Jane Fonda movie. In my opinion, what she did was inexcusable, and forgiveness for the harm she caused is between her and her Maker.
     And here's the rest of my beef:  Look at America today. Look at the professional politicians, paid with our tax money, who have made a mockery of the bravery of the young men and women who struggled to preserve this nation in a time when true evil stalked the face of the world and threatened to destroy freedom forever. If these soldiers could have looked ahead as they stormed Omaha Beach or Iwo Jima or countless other lesser-known beaches and bridges, how would they have felt?
     The greatest "battle" these politicians face is their next election--and they seem to be willing to say/do anything to win it. Everything but sacrifice themselves for the good of the American people whom they were supposedly elected to serve. They live high at our expense and do little if anything for our well-being. I'm sick of them--some more than others.
     "They gave up all of their tomorrows for our todays" has always resonated with me. It breaks my heart to think of all the lives laid down for the ilk of those who play at "running" the government of a once-proud country. Not a perfect country--not by a long shot--but a light in the darkness anyway.
     "Write/call your Congressman" we're told. Why? They read what they want to read, hear what they want to hear, and sneer at the rest...at us for being dumb enough to vote for them year after year, ad nauseum.
     Is this too strongly worded? I don't think it's blunt enough.
     "Home of the brave...land of the free..." Dear God, please let us keep it that way while we still can!
    

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