Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Monday, May 30, 2016

speaking of loss

 As I sit and ponder the significance of this day I am struck with a sense of loss. I have never had to endure the loss of a loved one in war. Oh, I have had many ancestors that served and as far as I know all returned. So what is this loss that I feel ? A loss of life or the loss of what once was. I think a little of both. With each war and conflict a little bit of America is lost. Just a small amount surrendered in exchange for the peace that follows conflict. The cost is great, the price must be paid, and our brave men and women have done so, repeatedly. The cost in lives is calculable, but immeasurable.  The cost to the ideals of a nation is also immeasurable.
 Yes, we won our freedom through battle. There was no other way. To free ourselves from oppression we had to stand up and be counted. The " minute men " did just that. We formed this republic that men might live free, as equals , and in peace. We fought again in 1812 to keep that hard won freedom. Then in 1861 we fought each other to preserve the union. We fought and killed our own brothers, cousins and Uncles. Americans killing each other. When the hostilities had been concluded and the healing process begun, we established Decoration Day. A day to tend to and remember the dead. Eventually the name was changed to Memorial day and it is what we celebrate today. No one expected this day to become a " weekend " or a " sale " day. It does speak to the loss I am feeling. A loss of humanity, compassion and empathy. Oh yes the real meaning is mentioned, as a reminder. Sadly there are many that require that reminder.
 The realities of war have not changed over the centuries. The reasons remain pretty much the same as well. It is either to keep what was gained or to gain something new. Well at least that is the primary reasons I think. After a nation is formed and relations established with " foreign " nations it can get complicated. Patriotism is the usual motivator for the enlisting of those that would fight. It has been forever so. Yes, some will join for other reasons, security or whatever, but the commitment must still be made. A commitment to put yourself in harms' way. And just what enforces that commitment ? Mostly it is pride ! Used to be it was always stated as a mans' pride but the women have been just as brave. All of that is a different discussion however. Let's just say man's' pride has carried him in the fight. To be labeled a coward is a worse fate than death. Hasn't that always been the case ? This clinging to an ideal is what inspires action. Having made up our mind about something we persevere, the talking is over.
 It is that I am thinking about when I think of loss. Are we, as Americans, beginning to surrender that commitment, that certainty of action that sustained our republic all these years ? When I consider the percentage of the population that has little to no regard for patriotism, and an understanding of that precept, it makes shudder. I am not speaking of those men and women that continue to join and serve in our nations military forces. I would not question their loyalty. An army requires the support of the citizens it protects. If those same citizens become complacent in their support the army will suffer. The citizens must believe in that nation as those that serve it. It is a good thing, this outcry I have been hearing in the last few years. The outcry to support the troops. The loss resides in the fact that we must do so. The loss is that is not being taught to our children.
 What needs to be taught is that is fitting and proper to take a stand. It doesn't make you more intelligent or enlightened to fabricate excuses and explanations for not committing. We established this Republic and wrote down the reasons for doing so. We then wrote down the basic premise of a Nation and just what our ideals are. It would seem that those ideals are being lost in the smoke of battle. The jubilation of freedom is being drowned out by the sound of canon. It is proper and fitting to stand for your country and defend her ideals ! When the basic precepts and concepts of a nation are bring challenged the nation is weakened. As Teddy Roosevelt pointed out , "In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person's becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American ... There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn't an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag ... We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people."

Theodore Roosevelt 1907

It is that loyalty that is being lost. That is the loss I am feeling. That many had their lives taken from them in the defense of that premise is just the exclamation point. We speak of " sacrifice " and " bravery " when we should speak of loyalty and trust. No one went to war to die. As to bravery, is that just a measure of pride ? A commitment made and a commitment fulfilled. No excuses, no rhetoric, no bull excrement ! On this day I will kneel before the fallen and commit to keep the dream alive, to preserve those ideals. On this day I take pride in being an American. It is so everyday. One Nation, that is the ideal, that is the goal. On this memorial day, when speaking of loss, consider the price that was extracted, a debt paid in full. Lives are lost in battle but so too dreams live in that fight. We are all obligated to continue in that fight. Do not surrender the dream for your own convenience. That is the loyalty and commitment that Teddy was talking about. It has nothing to do with prejudice or bigotry, it has to do with loyalty. The talking is over.