Monday, May 29, 2006

here's a toast

Today is a day we remember our fallen comrades. My grandparents flew their American flag outside their house. We went to the Texas State Capitol building. At noon today, my grandfather, who sings in a barbershop group, performed with other men. The crowd included young and old, there were Asian faces, black faces, white faces, Hispanic faces. Everyone said the pledge of allegiance, sang America the Beautiful, and God Bless America. At the end, the group sang a prayer. The only thing I thought was missing was the third verse of the Air Force song. I guess singing it for four years at school has made it, in my mind, the epitome of solemn reverence for those who have given their lives in service to their country.
Here's a toast to the host of those who
love the vastness of the sky,
To a friend we send this message
of his brother men who fly.
We drink to those who gave their all of old
Then down we roar to score the rainbow's
pot of gold.
A toast to the host of men we boast
The US Air Force!
I come from a military family, as most of you know. I grew up watching my hero give selflessly his time, sweat, blood. I never felt like I was second best, because I just always knew how important serving your country was, that it required sacrifice. Whenever my dad was home, he was at the soccer games, swim meets, music concerts. I have obviously thought a great deal about what being a professional military officer means, and had the best military education your tax dollars can buy to flesh out that knowledge. The Air Force wants us to know what we are getting into, and prevent another My Lai or Abu Grabe by training thinking officers, not "yes" men.

So when I see editorials like this, it irks me just a bit, because I realize not everyone gets it. I feel bad about complaining, because we have come a long way from the Vietnam era and vets coming home to ridicule rather than welcome. As American servicemen, we have given up our rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in some part, in order to protect those who cannot, or will not, protect those rights for themselves. When I raised my right hand and promised to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic, I promised I would do so with my life if need be. I take that literally, not just when I am in uniform, but every moment of every day. I have given up some of my liberty. I can no longer live where I want (sorry, but I can't say that I would live in Mississippi if I had the choice). I could even get in trouble for a sunburn. How many people do you know that would be disciplined at work for that?

I understand the author of this piece supports individual rights of those serving in the military, but there is so much more to be protected than that. I realize that not everything the US has ever fought for has been the smart thing to do, but I am thankful we fought against communism, fascism, totalitarianism when we have. In this day and age, with the global economy so intertwined, borders no longer mean as much as they used to; our interests, and protecting those interests, more broad.

More Memorial Day tributes:

History of Arlington National Cemetary
Michelle Malkin
Remembering fallen heros from Iraq and Afghanistan
LaShawn Barber has a great piece
Where have all the heros gone?
The Squiggler has many more links
For Love of Country

There are many more, you only have to search for them. These were just my favorites.


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