Change Begins With Us

This blog has never been a forum for politics, and it won’t be today. I only want us to remember that change ultimately begins with us. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and what I think may be wrong or right may not work for you. But that’s what freedom means; we have the right to our own opinions and beliefs.

In America, we have rights that not every country enjoys, and these rights didn’t come without a huge price. I may not agree with you about something, and you may not agree with me, but hopefully we can allow each other our separate opinions. We can certainly agree to disagree.

That said, real change begins with us; all of us. For example, we all may not agree on our new President Elect, but again—in America we don’t all have to agree. As one newscaster remarked this morning, “if you truly believe in the Democratic process of our country, then you can’t get upset about not getting your own way.” That’s how the process works; in one electoral year your horse may come in first. In another such year, mine may win.

We can look at this new development as an opportunity to embrace change and work with it. We can also continue to dislike and not support the change. We can try to find peace with the change, or we can work to make the change more palatable for us. Again, we are fortunate enough to live in a country that gives all citizens rights that many countries will never have.

My hope and prayer for us all today is that we can keep remembering who we are, and what we have as American citizens. Change happens, and will keep on happening. The test of it is how we choose to deal with it, and ultimately, make our own peace with it.

 

Voting Day

Well, here we are again—ready to elect a new president. It’s never an easy process, and I’m sure that everyone is as tired as I am about all the mud-slinging, political ads, phone calls from all over the country, and mailboxes stuffed with political flyers. The media goes wild, and predictably, we all become so weary of it that we all just want to get it over with.

That said, voting is a singular right we Americans have, thanks to the sacrifice of many. I often wonder what our founding fathers would say if they could see us now. Would they be glad or appalled?

Just recently, I went through my dad’s tattered *books containing the histories of WWI and WWII. My grandfather fought in WWI, and my dad in WWII. The old pictures in these books jump out at me, and I wonder about how the lives of all those young boys turned out. How many of them were lost before they had the chance to really live? How many were wounded so badly that it affected the rest of their lives? How many lived to have families?

When the war in Vietnam was going on, I was in college. I was in the Admin building when the loudspeaker came on to inform us of the results of the draft lottery. I saw the faces of the young men who were called out; it was as if all the color and life drained from them at that moment. Selfishly I was glad to be female, knowing that I wouldn’t have to fight in a war.

We are lucky to live in America, and lucky to have the freedoms and privileges we have. On a day like today, where we have the privilege to vote for our president, this is a day to remember how we got here and all those who fought to preserve our freedom.

Things may have changed dramatically since all these young and strong men and women went to war, but the essential truths are still as important as ever. Our freedom to vote and all our other freedoms did not come cheaply. There may be a whole lot wrong with America, but thankfully, there is also a whole lot right with America too.

No matter how tired we are of all the political rhetoric, it’s time to step up and vote today. As we used to say, ‘if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’ Let’s not waste this freedom.

See you at the voting booths!

*”The 401st Telegraph Battalion in the World War, 1917 – 1918,” “T.A.D. R-78 Completion Report, Company “C” 843 Engr. Av. BN./IX. E. C., 1945,” and “843rd. Engineer Aviation Battalion.”

4th of July

(I originally published this last 4th of July, but it bears remembering again on this 4th of July.)

The 4th of July is a uniquely American tradition. In every village, town or city, flags will wave, we will wear red, white and blue, enjoy parades, fairs and fireworks–all to celebrate our independence, our freedoms and our way of life. Frail old men will proudly don their old but well-preserved military uniforms on that day, and either walk or ride in wheelchairs or cars in an honored place on the parade routes.

Those of us who are old enough remember that in elementary school we bowed our heads to say the Lord’s Prayer, then stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance with right hands over hearts. If we as girl and boy scouts were in the town parade, we knew never to allow the American flag to touch the ground. These traditions were things we didn’t question; they were part of our lives.

We may have come a long way in technology, education, research, medicine (I still remember when doctors made house calls), but these uniquely American traditions are part of our history. With so many wars and battles behind us, it is easy to become complacent, secure in the knowledge that we are Americans, and our way of life is extraordinarily good. Horrors such as September 11, 2001, the war in Iraq [and these days, the ever-present ISIS attacks all over the world,including America] and so much more are reminders that we cannot stop being vigilant, and that our freedoms were and are still paid for in blood.

So on the 4th of July let’s spend a moment or two during our barbeques, parades and fireworks to remember why it is we celebrate. The rest of the world may look on us with a combination of derision, disapproval and/or even hatred, but we continue to roll on. True, we have our faults. We are still a relatively young nation; we do not have the history, grandeur or background of so many other older countries.

But what we DO have is incredibly good, dear and precious. Our country was founded on principles and standards that we must not forget. We stand on the shoulders of hundreds of thousands who suffered and sacrificed for the freedoms we enjoy today. If we cannot agree with what our forefathers set down as laws to run this nation, let us at least be respectful of them.

On the 4th of July, please let’s take a moment to put our right hands over our hearts, remember and be in gratitude.

What to Remember on Memorial Day

We’ve come to another Memorial Day; many, many thanks to all who have served and who are currently serving this country so diligently and so well. My admiration and respect for all of them knows no bounds.

Here are the things I am thinking of on this Memorial Day:

  • Freedom is not free. It is paid for in blood and sacrifice.
  • We must never forget our history and how we got here.
  • We must remember what honor is and how to keep it in our hearts.
  • Patriotism is a conscious act of remembrance, pride, heritage and history.

I think of all those grand men and women who literally gave life and limb to pay for our freedoms; will we ever see the like of them again? One hundred years from now, will there still be veterans of war who will remind us in their sacrifice of the true price of freedom?

It is said that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it; I’m afraid this is all too true. It is sad to see that, when the national anthem is played at any event, half the people there don’t know to stand up, remove their hats and place their right hand over their hearts to show allegiance to our country.

Does anyone say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore? Back when I attended grade school, it was the common practice to start our day with this and then the Lord’s prayer. This was back when no one questioned this, and no one I ever knew was offended by these practices. If any one of us would have sat down and refused to say either one, it would have been an immediate march to the principal’s office and a phone call to our parents. That’s just how things were then.

Back then, it was an insult and a defamation to let the American flag touch the ground; everybody knew that. These days when I see young people walking on or dancing on our flag, it hurts my heart. It is a slap in the face to all who have given so much to defend it.

My stepdaughter is a veteran who had five deployments overseas; the first of which was in Baghdad, the day before war broke out. Years later, when the Crankee Yankee and I, my stepdaughter and her then three-year old daughter, Ava, were at an event together, they played the National Anthem. I watched as she pulled Ava to her feet, showed her how to place her little hand upon her heart, and stand at attention. I have hope for her generation.

We don’t always value what we have always known. I do hope that American History is still being taught in schools; however, I am pretty sure it is not the history I learned in school. I took a look at the website of the National Center for Constitutional Studies regarding the “new” American History being taught these days. In a word, it is chilling.

This quote from Abraham Lincoln says it all for me: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

Let us on this Memorial Day not only remember our veterans and those who serve now, but also our past–cherish it, remember it, and most of all, learn from it.