Worth fighting for…..The Fallen

August 5, 2018
By

Insomnia is not always a curse. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning an all too often episode of workload sleeplessness led to a once in a lifetime moment.

Beaming into my bedroom from Osan Air Base at Pyeongtaek, South Korea were the images of 55 boxes draped in the United Nations flag guarded by United States military personnel in full dress uniform.

Boxes of human remains delivered the previous week by North Korea as a gesture from the Singapore summit between Kim Jong UN and President Trump.

While North Korea’s history of deception must still be disproven regarding these particular encasements, their image was as powerful as powerful could be.

The Military Times recalled: “For the warrior, this is a cherished duty, a commitment made to one another before going into battle, and passed on from one generation of warriors to the next,” Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Forces Korea, said at the ceremony. “This is a solemn reminder that our work is not complete until all have been accounted for, no matter how long it takes to do so.”

“No matter how long it takes to do so”…..Those words struck right through me.

What other nation on Earth devotes more time and spends more money doing all it can to recover its greatest treasure? Those left behind on the battlefields of its history.

If that’s not worth fighting for, nothing is.

The Flag

I don’t care your politics, your gender, your skin color or whatever the size of the mass of gray matter between your ears; If you’re a citizen of these United States of America and refuse to stand for her flag, its pledge, or her National Anthem you do not deserve the title, “American citizen”.

Now before the free speech bombardment begins, notice I did not say you “do not have the right”, I clearly said “you do not deserve the title”.

It’s not that you don’t have right to kneel, sit, spit, burn, or do whatever to protest the current cause du jur. It’s just that to paraphrase Mr. Rhett Butler “quite frankly, I don’t give a damn.”

Because if you are kneeling, sitting, spitting or burning the flag of these United States in some form of “protest”, you’re not just showing a level of shallowness reserved for the lowest of our low, you are demonstrating a level of disrespect for all those fallen that leaves me with nothing but seething contempt for you.

From the Revolution that founded us, to the Civil War that unified us, to the Greatest Generation that saved us all and to all those for missions since, the lives of men and women cut short in defense of that flag and the nation it flies over deserves more than cheap political stunts gratifying someone’s sick “look at me” need for attention.

The latest case in point one Melissa Schlage. Selectwoman for the little town of Haddam Connecticut.

Triggered by last month’s Trump/Putin summit in Helsinki, Ms. Schlage ripped a page out of the Colin Kaepernick playbook and decided to see if she too could gain celebrity cult status by disrespecting our flag.

Four days after her decision to kneel during the pledge of allegiance at the town council meeting she wrote a lengthy letter attempting to justify her action.

After rattling off a long list of “sorrows” she feels for America today, she finally gets to the money quote: “Therefore, as long as Donald J. Trump is the president of the United States, I will kneel.”

She then went on to lecture that if you were “not offended and worried” by President Trump than “we have no hope” and that “America should be alarmed by those disgusting displays of not only unpatriotic acts, but also treason.”

Not satisfied with the “T” word, she then gives the history of the pledge and closes with this little gem: “Kind of symbolic and ironic that people stand to recite a sentence written entirely for capitalistic reasons to celebrate the 400th anniversary of a rapist and genocidal murderer who didn’t even set foot on American soil.”

After push back at Monday’s meeting she attempted to make herself the victim by writing on Facebook that “the intolerance and hate was palpable in the room”. She was also caught on video saying “this town is fascist and racist”. (She has since apologized.)

So let’s see, “unpatriotic”, “treason”, “rapist”, “genocidal murderer”, “intolerance”, “hate”, “fascist”, “racist”, yep that oughtta do it. Ms. Schlage has managed to check off every buzz word currently in play with the cult crowd. Status elevation coming in 3…..2…..1

No nation on this Earth is more tolerant of political protest than the United States of America.  If in the vastness of all our freedoms you cannot find a way to protest without disrespecting our flag and our fallen, the problem isn’t America, the problem is you.

Publisher Note:  A version of this column first appeared in the August 5, 2018 print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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