Our country has a long tradition of citizens standing up for what they thought was right, or against what they thought was wrong.
Our history books were replete with stories about the Boston Tea Party, the Stamp Act, impressment of American sailors into the British Navy.
Civil War, Womens Suffrage.
During my teenage years I witnessed people taking to the streets to right wrongs, to push for civil rights, and to protest the draft.
Joan Baez poster
I don’t remember ever seeing very much coverage of people going to work, stepping forward at the armed forces recruiting station and swearing an oath to serve their country, but they did. And they still do.
My family has some stories about this. About how my namesake, Miles Sr., joined the army cavalry back in WWI. Sounds dashing, but the assignment in the cavalry in those days for farm boys from Ohio was all about the barn, not about riding.
My father, Miles Jr., was first in his graduating class of 1942 to enlist in the Army. He got some great training at the New England Aircraft School and as ground crew chief was responsible for the maintenance of a number of B-17’s over Europe.
My daughter, Emma, and her husband, are deployed in Europe with the U.S. Army where they command helicopter units.
I’ll bet your family has some stories like this too. I hope you share them this weekend. They are important ways to share your family’s values.
I got a pass. I got a university deferrment. then I got a high draft number. No crazy asian war for me.
So, when they bring up the flag at the community band concert this weekend, I’ll be the first to jump up (or try to be) to salute, not the flag that goes by, but the sacrifices and love gifts of all who have worn the uniform of a U.S. Armed Service, who stepped forward and chose “Duty, Honor, Country” instead of “What’s in it for me?”
Who made personal sacrifices, not to attack the enemy in front of them, but rather to assure the safety and well being of the families and friends behind them. And our way of life.
I thank those folks, for assuring that I have choices.
And on the 4th, this year, I’m going to exercise my ability to choose.
I will choose to stand up for old Glory.
I will choose to thank the veterans I meet for their service.
And I will choose to respectfully listen to what it is that they have to say.
And I’m going to choose to grill a steak.
I choose to do this for the sake of those brave souls in uniform who are out there eating something less than steak as they patrol and otherwise do their duty.
They wouldn’t have it any other way.
I feel truly proud to be an American, but I doubt the need for young Americans and Afghans and Iraqis to be dying in endless winless wars.
Miles I value you and your family’s commitment to our country.
Thank you Lloyd. Our opinion (yours and mine) is subordinate to those who decide that their service is worth their time and perhaps their life. I don’t know how to “score” a “win” in wars like these, but for those women no longer living under the tender mercies of the Taliban, attending school for the first time, perhaps the need appears differently than to us who take such things for granted. The great thing about being American is that we can share our views publically without fear of reprisal.
Thanks for the lump in my throat and tear in my eye.
We have great blood in our veins, Dan. Independence Day seemed like a good time to reflect on that.