It’s Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Canada and Britain, and while I fully intend to spend this day in thoughtful remembrance of those who have sacrificed so much to keep us free, I have to first get a few things off my mind when it comes to liberals and their twisted sense of what sacrifice and service is.
First there was Barbara Boxer a few years ago during a Senate hearing when she said to Brigadier Gen. Michael Walsh, “Do me a favor; call me Senator instead of ma’am. It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title…”
While that was just vain and foolish, some rhetoric is downright vicious. Consider this; MSNBC’s Ed Shultz on his radio show had a caller on who was trying to talk about Obamacare. The caller happened to be a Veteran himself, and didn’t see eye to eye with Shultz, who went into a disgusting tirade in which he hurled the most incredulous insults at his caller. I want to focus on the last thing Shultz yelled at the caller before hanging up on him:
“Oh, OK. Yeah, well you know what? My tax dollars supplied you with your benefit. Right? See ya. I don’t want to deal with you. I just don’t.” At this point Shultz hangs up, saying, “Veterans, I don’t know who got in between their ears to make them think that the Republicans are their best friend. It drives me nuts. It drives me nuts. I admit it.”
Shultz not only completely disrespected the man, but made it sound like he’s done our Veterans a favor by having “his tax dollars” pay for Veteran’s benefits. Not once have I ever heard a Liberal complain about tax money being spent on union perks or welfare for illegals. That kind of thing is embraced by Liberals as being fair, generous and loving. But when it’s paying for someone who really has served, and paid the highest price to earn what they ought to receive, it’s all of a sudden seen as something the recipient ought to be grateful for, as if it’s a sacrifice to have to pay taxes for them.
More recently, ignorance was on display on ESPN when Sports journalist and professor Kevin Blackistone declared that the national anthem should not be played before sporting events. He also said sports are too full of “military symbolism”, complaining of the use of jets for fly overs, and using the terms, “singing a war anthem to open every game” and “going to get a hot dog and being able to sign up for the army at the same time” as examples of “conflating a war anthem with a simple game.”
It makes me wonder, did Mr. Blackistone ever study American History in school? Does he actually know the meaning behind the words of the poem, written by Francis Scott Key while he was on board a ship surrounded by British ships, under orders to stay put as they had to watch Fort McHenry be bombarded all night long during one of the deciding battles of the War of 1812? The men at the Fort died protecting that flag as a symbol of Liberty and Freedom, which had only been won from the British Monarchy less than 50 years prior. Key wrote it as a poem to describe how it felt to see the triumph of the flag still flying free and the bravery of those who defended their country and flag no matter how much the British Empire tried to destroy it and them.
And as for those other military symbols–have these people never had a feeling of pride for our military? Yes, the military views flyovers as promotional and recruiting opportunities for the armed services, because our armed services are no longer mandatory but voluntary. These flyover displays also allow people a chance to see the military up close in a way that’s normally not possible.
Where I live, it used to be a regular occurrence to have a few F-16s fly over our house. Living close to an international airport, I can tell the difference in sound of passenger jets from Military jets from a distance, and every time I hear one, I run outside to watch them go by, sometimes flying low enough to see the markings. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a huge sense of pride and gratitude whenever I see them, excitement when I hear them coming and awe when I hear them afterwards open up and really go.
Speaking of a lack of pride and respect in our Military, I almost don’t want to bring up this next subject because it has been saturating the social networks lately. Normally I don’t pay any attention to big Hollywood stars at all–but something Tom Cruise recently said just blew my mind. Apparently he is defending himself against criticism that he has spent long periods of time not visiting his daughter while filming his movies. During a deposition, Cruz lamented that he believes his job as a professional actor is “as grueling as fighting the war in Afghanistan”. “That’s what it feels like… And certainly on this last movie, it was brutal. It was brutal.”
OK I could write a novel on this alone describing the differences between acting and fighting in war, but it really comes down to a few things. Depending on the movie, actors pretend to be soldiers. While I know it does take a lot of work, physical and mental to get the parts as close to reality as they can, they still, at the end of the day get to leave the set, have a hot shower, go out to dinner and sleep in a comfortable bed. They have telephone and computer access whenever they want, and can take breaks when they need them. And they get paid big bucks to act like heroes. My heroes don’t play them on the movie screen. My heroes are quiet professionals who wear dog tags.
It’s not only in America where liberalism has spread so much that people have forgotten what this world would be like if it weren’t for the millions who have given- sacrificed so much.
A friend of mine from England shared news with me that the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded £95,800 (approx. 153,000 US dollars) in grants for a project to honor conscientious objectors. The group awarded, The Peace Pledge Union, distributes white “peace” poppies. Yet, this same lottery fund refused to fund a £92,200 Royal British Legion plan to help children seed millions of poppies which were intended to honor Britain’s fallen servicemen during next year’s First World War centenary commemorations.
I don’t know when it became more honorable to be a pacifist than a soldier, but for this story, all I can think of is a quote by General Douglas McArthur: “The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
Another friend, from Canada, shared an article from SunNews. It seems that Canada, too, has its share of peace activists who believe the red poppy is too militaristic and glorifies war. I don’t remember celebrating war every year when I wore my poppy as a child or as a young adult. I wore my poppy with pride yes, but mostly as a sober reminder of what it represented in the blood spilled on my own, and my country’s behalf. Even as a child I understood the sacrifice of what was given by so many millions. I haven’t worn a poppy in years, but twice a year, since living in the US, I have continued to read the poem which Canadian kids grew up reciting. It is written by a Canadian surgeon/soldier named John McCrae who wrote in honor of the Fallen, In Flanders Fields. On Memorial Day and on November 11th, this to me honors two nations who have given so much to the world- our young men and women.
As too many are forgetting, sacrifices, true selfless service of those who have fought and are still fighting for freedom, I will never forget. Yes, I pray for peace. For our Troops, for our world, but until that day comes, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more, I will be so grateful to know that we can, (to loosely borrow from George Orwell), sleep peaceably in our own beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.
Veterans Day and Remembrance Day are not about going shopping for sales, going to back yard BBQs or tail gate parties. They’re not about giving lip service to those who have given, only to be disrespected every other day of the year. Our Veterans deserve so much more than they receive, and while all of those I know do not see themselves as heroes, I hope they will always know that I do.
To our Veterans, to our Deployed Troops, to those who are stationed all around the world, and to all of those Gold Star Families who have given their loved ones- Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It will never be enough, because being given a free life can never be put into adequate words.