Reflections on Duty, Honor and Country

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Having read the moving and heartfelt tributes and testimonials by and for our veterans on this November 11, here at Unified Patriots and at other sites, I felt a sense  that those who served and those who honor those who served have this reciprocal respect and admiration for each other, marked by their mutual love of country and appreciation of it’s indefinable, almost mystical goodness.  It’s a “Thank you, soldier” – “You’re more than welcome, citizen ” kind of decency that transcends personal ends and bonds a nation.

Just before going out to take down the flag, I thought I would catch up on some of the news of the day, and for a brief period I wished I hadn’t, for a couple of the items were pretty much diametrically opposed to the feelings described above.  And as I put the flag away I began to recall some of the other less-than-palatable stories that have been prominent in the news the last few weeks and months and for some reason I kept getting these thoughts –  these phrases, actually –  such as ‘semper fidelis’, ‘Duty, honor, country’, ‘old soldiers never die’, ‘from the halls of Montezuma’  and many more.  And I thought “What if they stop?  What if they quit?  What if they wilt under the ‘friendly fire’ they are subjected to over and over and over again by the  ‘effete corps of impudent snobs’ (h/t: the late Spiro T. Agnew) who mouth platitudes about supporting the troops but their words are belied by every action and promotion they engage in?”  And then I realized no, they won’t quit, they won’t desert their posts, they won’t retreat .  They never have and they never will.

For those of you who think patriotism is quaint, and not in a good way, and can’t seem to muster the same appreciation and consideration that the grateful nation at large has seen fit to convey for the grunts and the generals, and all service stripes and gold insignia in between,  consider this:

You may use your public office to scorn and dishonor and ignore their service, but they will still defend you.

Gayle McLaughlin, the mayor of Richmond, CA, has decided to skip that city’s Veteran’s Day event to attend an Occupy Richmond rally, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

You may try to nudge their children away from respect and reverence for our Nation and its emblems,  but our military men and women will still defend you.

On Cinco De Mayo, 2010, students at Live Oak High School were told to remove shirts, hats and other clothing bearing the American flag for fear that the articles would incite violence on campus.

You may smear and attempt to punish retired general staff officers who continue to help the Department of Defense and the military establishment post-retirement, but our military men and women will still defend you.

 His comments came as Sen. Claire
McCaskill
, D-Mo., said she will investigate the military’s use of retired
generals and admirals who also work for defense contractors. In a letter to
Defense Secretary Robert
Gates
, McCaskill called for the Pentagon turn over a large volume of records
by Dec. 22.

You may unduly and impertinently and disgustingly increase the stress of the bereaved family members of our deceased veterans by grilling them on whether they really, really feel they need expressions of God’s love and compassion for them as they bury their loved ones in our National Cemeteries, but our military men and women will still defend you.

The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Memorial  Ladies cited “religious hostility” at the cemetery, charging that the  cemetery’s director, Arleen Ocasio, bans religious phrases and requires prayers  to be submitted in advance for her approval. She has also turned the cemetery  chapel into a meeting room, they said.

You may gripe and complain that those who have served, sacrificed, caused their families to sacrifice, toiled interminable hours, days, weeks and months on rigorous duty assignments, rigidly followed strict protocols and personal codes of ethics, indeed sometimes sacrificing even bits and pieces and chunks of their flesh, or their psyches, are undeserving of the pension and health care benefits they enlisted, re-enlisted and re-enlisted for, that you just can no longer justify the expenditures, but our military men and women will still defend you.

Military retirement and medical benefits virtually have been  sacred cows in our society.

But given the spiraling national debt, they could wind up on  the chopping block.

With the Pentagon’s annual budget having doubled since  “9/11,” the Defense Department’s marching orders are to cut it back by 60  percent over the next 10 years

You may lose, displace, delay delivery or tabulation of, and pooh-pooh the importance of, the absentee ballots our troops seek to submit in  tending to their civic duties at election time, but our military men and women will still defend you.

More than one week after its extended deadline, the state of New York failed by Monday to send out absentee ballots to all its 320,000 military servicemen and women and overseas voters, a violation of federal law.

And finally, you may, with haughty aloofness and dismal disrespect for consideration or consequence, impose upon our fighting forces restrictive  rules of engagement,  forced acknowledgement and acceptance of personal practices contradictory to the traditions and necessary regimens and codes of the services,  not to mention the moral beliefs and traditions  the vast majority of service men and women have held sacred all their lives,  and outright physical tasks and mental considerations liable to unnecessarily endanger them by taking their minds off killing the enemy before the enemy kills them, and still, after all that, our military men and women will defend you.

Why?  Because that’s their job.  That’s what they do ……………………………………………. and who they are.

 

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bobmontgomery
Poor. No advanced degrees. Unorganized. Feeble. Disjointed. Random. Past it. .... Intrigued, Interested, Patriotic and Lucky.
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Lady Penguin
Admin
November 12, 2011 4:37 am

Wonderful summation, Bob. And behind our military are many other freedom loving Americans who will back them up.

vassarbushmills
Admin
November 12, 2011 6:39 am

From Kipling’s poem, Tommy Adkins “Just remember, Tommy knows.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNMHOc9xfKQ

nessa
Editor
November 12, 2011 11:22 am

General Order #1. I will guard my post and everything within the limits of my post, until properly relived.

I ain’t been properly relieved. But its nice to have you standing the same post Bob.