I consider myself a patriot of the United States. I love my country and the remarkable things its inhabitants have accomplished. I’m also fully aware that we’ve accomplished much of the greatness we now boast about at a high cost – on the backs of others who were easily trampled by our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers and great great grandfathers who didn’t know better. Or maybe they knew better but failed to allow their consciences to slow up “progress.”
From my early years as a child, I embraced patriotism. My hometown celebrated its bicentennial in the early ’70s and I believed the entire world’s eyes were on Spencer, Iowa as we recognized that occasion with flags and fireworks and parades featuring local veterans who had fought in all the great wars. I saluted flags until I realized that those of us who haven’t served only had to put our right hands over our heart when the Star Spangled Banner was played. I still do that, by the way – and I get a little peeved when I see some ASS listening to the anthem with his trucker hat cocked and in place. Ugh!
There are many reasons to be disenchanted with the United States today. But on Veterans Day, I hope everyone can take a minute, set aside their views on war and be thankful that through the years – since this country was founded – men and women have been willing to give their lives to ensure us of our rights.
Three hundred million of us can walk on some of the richest earth in the world thanks to the service of a relatively handful of brave – oh so brave – people.
Thank them. And take your damn hat off!