"I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him"
We say that a Veteran's place, their Country, is proud of them.
In symbolic ways, in speeches, in ribbons, in lesiure filled Holidays, we acknowledge their courage, their sacrifice, their service to their Country, and to the realization, survival and advancement of the values on which it was founded.
However, all too often we fail to show them- particularly in meaningful ways- how grateful, how proud we are, or should be.
And for that, I'm not sure they should be as proud of us, of their place, as we are-or claim to be-of them.
Generally speaking, we live, as a society, self-servingly ignorant to the details of their sacrifice, more comfortable in the abstract, in being as emotionally distant as we are physically.
We'd rather stay self-involved, spending time on our iPads, on Facebook -not as a tool or an outlet to reach or potentially benefit those who have served-but rather to engage in self-promotion, ironically practicing our First Amendment right-one of the many freedoms their service is protecting-to update our friends and followers as to our latest care free trip to the mall, or the gym, or to voice our displeasure with the latest results of some vapid “talent” show on television.
Now don’t get me wrong, we reflexively cheer every time someone offers up some patriotic platitude,-e.g. “We support our Troops!”, “We Love our Troops”, “We Pray for our Troops....now let's get to the game”.
There’s also flag pins which show how much we love the Country our Soldiers have and are defending, like to say ”We’re all on the same team---and you're doing all the work for the team, but I'm wearing this pin, so I'm kinda doing my part, ya know?"
But we can do better than conspicuously placed fashion accessories , or elaborate but largely meaningless ceremonies at sporting events, can't we?
And yes, 45,000 sq ft American flags on football fields, while awe inspiring, are not as practical or beneficial as say-volunteering at, or donating to a local VA Hospital.
And while our Memorial Day picnics and barbecues will be a fun way of “honoring” those who have lost their lives while serving, it will do nothing to feed, to house, to help, the nearly 70,000 veterans who are alive and homeless.
To make them as proud of their place, as proud of us, as we are of them.
Be Good Friends,