I remember World War II. I was a boy but I remember the many things we went without to provide for our soldiers. I remember saving the linings from all foil packages, and coat hangers and dimes for war bonds. I remember my family members who left and did not come back home. I remember beginning each school day pledging my allegiance to the flag and the country for which it stood. I remember that two great powers in the world wanted to take my flag and country away. Yes, I remember that very well.
I spent 24 years in the military of the United States of America. Every time I re-enlisted I swore an oath to defend my country against all enemies, domestic and foreign. I am proud to be a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer and even prouder of the thousands who have served with me.
I saluted and gave respect to every officer I met. Some I didn’t even know. Many I did and they weren’t all perfect. I did not salute or respect them for what they did or didn’t do but for the flag and country they represented. It had nothing to do with whether I liked them or what they did. I feel the same way about the U.S.A. I love my country because it’s my country. Not perfect, not always right but far better than the rest. She deserves my respect.
I confess I do not understand those who trash the streets in protest of something they don’t like. I wonder how many of them slept in a fox hole or listened to shells flying over their heads? I wonder how many of the president haters served under one as their CIC? Do they understand what he represents? As Americans, we must respect the offices of our government. We don’t have to like the officers.
The freedom to protest, the freedom to complain, the freedom to disagree was not purchased with silver and gold but with the precious blood of our forefathers. When I see people on television burning cars, taunting the police, or carrying signs of hate and disrespect I wonder.
I wonder where they were the night I walked in the dark guarding the aircraft that kept them safe. The temperature was below zero and the snow was intense. I wasn’t at a football game or my local bar or dancing with my girl. I wonder where they were the many nights I stood in the cold or heat and loaded ammunition into a B-47 that would fly and keep the enemy at bay. I wonder where they were when my fiends and I slept an uneasy sleep, afraid the enemy would come across the line or send bombers to interrupt that sleep. Where were they when my friend and neighbor fought through the jungles of the Pacific and saw his company killed not once but three times? Where were they when my brother-in-law died on a beach in Normandy, or another brother-in-law was shot down in Burma?
Please forgive me ladies and gentlemen when I show little enthusiasm for your violence and impatience. Forgive me for not approving of your sneers and jeers and hatred of the flag I love and the country I cherish and the President who is the emblem of freedom to the whole world. I was 53 when recalled to Desert Storm. Too old, really, but I left my wife and job and went. Not because I agreed with every policy or politician but because I remember WWII and I love the USA.