posted on Aug, 13 2013 @ 10:56 AM
My country, may she ever be right, but right or wrong, my country
Not a popular sentiment, Semper, but an opportune post at this point in human history. We live in a country today that is plagued by charges of
military interference, police brutality, governmental violations of laws, oppression, institutionalized racism, and blatant international
Is it true? Yes. Part of it at least. Perhaps most of it. Certainly enough of those allegations are founded in fact to make me cringe a little bit
whenever I call myself an American. But despite that, I am an American. and because I am an American, I can write this post on an Internet
forum without being concerned about someone showing up in the middle of the night, breaking in my door, and dragging me away to someplace like Siberia
or New Jersey without a trace.
Being an American means a lot more than just the implications from the local headlines. It means I am part of a Great Experiment, a limited government
that is to uphold the rights of all those who share the title "American," a society that values hard work and sacrifice, a people who were not
afraid to rise up against tyranny and oppression to throw off their bonds and declare themselves free. One of my ancestors married and bought land in
1775 in Virginia, then sold that land in 1776 and disappeared form the official record. Family writings confirmed he went to serve in the
Revolutionary War with two of this brothers and never returned.
Richard did not go to a building and sign up for service, get shipped out to basic training and fight with advanced weaponry in order to get the GI
Bill for school. He sold everything he owned, kissed his new wife goodbye, bought what weapons and gear he could, and showed up at the front line,
ready to defend his homeland. That's how it worked back then.
Richard died fighting for his country. That's how it often works even today. He didn't come back. He didn't respawn, he didn't get more lives, he
didn't have to create a new character. He died.
I had two uncles who fought with honor in WWII. One was a conscientious objector. He still served, as a Medic. I have heard he was under at least as
much fire as those he was trying to save, rushing headlong into fire time after time to get to the fallen. He was not afraid; he simply didn't want
The other also served with honor, on the front line.
My own father served in the Army in Korea. He was a soldier on the front lines. He never talked about it much after he got back, but sitting in an old
trunk is a stack of medals and a hand-carved propeller for a toy airplane he brought back for his son.
Back when I was younger, it was considered improper to talk against those who had served their country in the military. No, not just improper... more
like sacrilegious. There was talk about not wanting to be involved in wars, but never did I hear a single comment disparaging the soldiers go
unanswered... and rarely did I even hear such a comment made. Today it is different. Somehow it has become accepted and even expected in some circles
to speak out against those brave men who serve their country.
A close frined had his adopted son enlist a while back. He was in Afghanistan when the mobile communications center he was running was attacked. They
attackers took out the power first, then tried to reach the transmission tower where he was. He sat there, in the dark, clutching his rifle, listening
to the sounds of battle and wondering when he would be faced with either killing an attacker or dying himself. He said after the firefight died down
was the hardest part. As he waited for the power to be restored, he had no idea if the silence meant his squadron was dead and he was next or if it
meant the attackers were dead and his comrades were repairing the damage. When he relayed this story, I could see the fear in his eyes, but also I
could see the pride that he had kept his head under fire.
A week later, I saw my best friend, a bear of a man, break down talking about it. Then I saw the same thing a week after that. Again a few weeks
later. Today I avoid the subject at all costs, because I don't want him to re-experience learning that he almost lost his son.
I still have a family member who recently enlisted. He is serving his country with honor, and I rarely get to see him any more. I miss him. I worry
about him. But I am also proud of him.
When someone talks badly about the soldiers serving this country, they are talking badly about Richard from long ago, my uncles, my father, my best
friend's son, and my kin serving now. People can do that on the Internet, but please don't try that to my face. The results are not something I
enjoy. Enjoy your anonymity, your safety sitting behind a computer screen, your false bravado while clothed in security. But do not confuse that
situation with reality... for in reality, when one man faces another, such words can be akin to a slap in the face.