Monday, October 18, 2010

What happened to my patriotism?

By Stacy Johnson

When I was younger, my husband was in the military.  He joined when our oldest was about a year old.  I was so excited about our new adventure together, I was ready to see the world.  We were stationed at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the entire tour.  Boring.  But, it was a turning point in our marriage and the place where we figured out who we were and who we wanted to be.  In that sense, it was fabulous and exciting and the best adventure I could have asked for.  I loved our life in the military.  I loved seeing my husband get dressed in his uniform each day (who doesn't love a man in uniform?), the military productions, the rules, the etiquette, the everyday patriotism.  It was a good life.

But, it was a poor life too.  We were enlisted and made very little money.  The military for us, was a means to an end.  They paid for his schooling, and while he was getting his education, he was working in the right field, gaining the experience he needed to make his education profitable for us.  We got out as soon as he graduated.

I watched an HBO film last night called Taking Chance.  It is the story of a Lt. Colonel in the USMC who volunteers escort duty for a fallen soldier.  It shows the process of bringing a soldier home who has been killed in the line of duty.  I was moved to tears more than once at the patriotism I felt and the respect that I witnessed others show for a PFC in the Marines Corp.  It was incredibly touching.

The show was not politically directed, it was just that the Lt. Colonel himself was so moved that he wanted to write about it and then wrote a screenplay for it.  It didn't hurt that Kevin Bacon played the Lt. Colonel and for a 52 year old guy, he is hot...but I digress.

I guess my point is, what happened to my patriotism?  What happened to flying my flag on patriotic holidays?  I am guilty of downplaying certain holidays like Flag Day.  I miss saying the pledge of allegiance (my kids still get to say it everyday).  I miss singing songs like "You're a Grand Old Flag" or "Fifty Nifty United States" at school productions.  I am grateful for this country and proud to be a citizen, regardless of who is running our country or whether I agree with policies or not.  I am an American citizen and I am proud and I am going to do a better job of showing my patriotism.  What kind of things can you think of to show our patriotism?  They can be big or small.  (Don't forget Veteran's Day is coming up in November, we will be taking our annual trip with my husband to the Souper Salad in his honor, why?  I don't know, but that is our tradition.  I think we will go to a parade too.  I'll let you know what we do.)

Suggested Read:  No Ordinary Joes by Larry Colton  (I can't wait to get my hands on this book)  Check it out  here.

7 comments:

  1. I loved that movie!
    Want to feel patriotic? Find out where your state swears in new American citizens. It may not be the same in every state but in SLC it was moving! It's amazing how many immigrants WANT to be here and LOVE it here.

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  2. Reading your words brought back a lot of memories for me. I'm a military brat and live with my dad a disabled vet. You bet I still say the pledge and tear up at the sight of the flag. Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories for me.

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  3. Although I have brothers who were Vietnam vets, I haven't been closer than that to the military. One of my most patriotic-feeling days was 09/11/01. We were visiting teaching that morning and watched the buildings fall on a sister's TV we were too stunned to speak. As we drove home, we saw a flag on the porch of a formerly military family. I went home and put our flag out, too, and pretty soon flags were flying from porches and businesses all over town. We all knew we were in this together.

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  4. Taffy - I did attend one a few years ago, when our scout master became a citizen. I drove the scout troop there to witness it. They allowed our troop to lead everyone in the pledge of allegiance and I bawled like a baby. It was so cool.

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  5. Thank you for your sweet reminder. In AZ I would get so frustrated when people around me would neglect to salute the flag and show respect during the National Anthem. I always get choked up when the Scouts do their flag ceremony at Courts of Honor, and when we get to sing our anthem.

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  6. I felt patriotism reading your blog. I am going to look for that movie. I don't have the answers but I liked your questions.

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