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Posts Tagged ‘patriotism’


America: Play Ball!

   Posted by: Pat    in Uncategorized   Print Print

A friend of mine brought this old video to my attention last week and boy is it a good one. I love my country and I love the sport of baseball and somehow the scene from this video captures both exquisitely. Here is the video and a short description of what you are watching:

On April 25, 1976 at Dodger Stadium, Rick Monday of the Chicago Cubs, grabbed and secured the American flag from two individuals as they were attempting to burn our flag in the middle of the playing field. It was an outstanding display of American Patriotism.

Rick Monday was a baseball name I’ve heard of, but he played just before I came of age. Now, he’s one of my favorite players. As a huge San Francisco Giants fan, this next sentence was hard to right. Tommy Lasorda, who was also racing to save the American flag, deserves great praise.

So Rick Monday and Tommy Lasorda, great Americans, that’s for sure, but of course their efforts on that April day in 1976 pale in comparison to the sacrifices being made by our troops overseas. This other patriotic story from the Weekly Standard shows another way we Americans ‘back home’ can help honor our country and the soldiers fighting for our rights and freedoms abroad:

A care package drive for deployed U.S. troops is receiving national notice after a professor at Suffolk University Law School criticized the operation.

Professor Michael Avery emailed his colleagues just before Veterans’ Day in response to a school-wide email soliciting donations. “I think it is shameful,” he wrote, “that it is perceived as legitimate to solicit in an academic institution for support for men and women who have gone overseas to kill other human beings.”

Avery’s email inadvertently contributed to the drive’s success, however, because its publication drew an outpouring of support for U.S. service members.

Samantha Caplan, a law student at Suffolk University, organized the drive after her boyfriend in the Marine Corps was deployed to Afghanistan. Since the publication of Avery’s email, the response from Suffolk students, faculty and administrators has been very positive, she said, not to mention the “incredible” support from people across the country.

“The majority of the student body has recognized that people are free to have whatever opinions they like,” she said, “and we’re certainly free to disagree with them.” She said that the donation bin for the drive has been “overflowing,” so much so that she has had to empty it every day since the drive started. “That speaks louder than anything anyone could say.”

So thank you Rick Monday, Tommy Lasorda, Samantah Caplan, the generous students at Suffolk U, and most of all, all of those representing the US by serving their country here and overseas. We have a great country and you are all representing it very well!

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Happy Memorial Day America!

   Posted by: Pat    in Uncategorized   Print Print

The United States would not be what it is today without the tremendous bravery and sacrifices of our fighting forces. From the Battle of Lexington to Fallujah, over a million Americans have paid the ultimately sacrifice, making possible the gilded life we currently live in this country. Right now, the US has soldiers in harms way fighting in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Libya, with thousands more protecting allies in Europe, Japan, Korea, etc. I’d like to highlight some of the sacrifices made by our military families:

Over the decades, however, the shared element of this sacrifice has waned. Although Americans have been wonderfully supportive of their service members in the recent conflicts, many have also observed that, with few exceptions, the nation’s elites – the politically powerful, office and rank-holders, influential, wealthy and highly educated among us – do not typically have their children at risk in today’s wars. Whether an inevitable result of our military becoming an all-volunteer force, or perhaps some deeper cultural movement, the trend has been growing relentlessly for decades.

In our politically polarized society of today this phenomenon has provided yet another political battleground for competing visions about the country’s values and her future. The political left focuses on “chicken hawks,” conservative politicians who advocate aggressive military action but without having ever personally served in uniform. The political right focuses on those progressives or liberal elites that use politics or declared conscience as an excuse for not serving as having demonstrated a “dereliction of duty.” Regardless of the ideological merits of these arguments, neither group has allowed its children to serve. Among members of Congress, for example, whether Democrat or Republican, only a handful have children in the military.

But is there is one group among our great nation’s leaders and elites whose children are very much at risk. The children of those in the military itself. Many of the generals and admirals who lead our armed forces today have children who are also serving.

Indeed, studies have shown that one of the strongest indicators for whether someone will join the U.S. military today is whether they have a parent who has served. A recent government study found that more than 61 percent of the Marines serving in Iraq in 2004 had at least one parent who was or had been in the military. I saw this vividly myself during my last tour in Iraq. Half of the senior officers on our command staff had children that were in the military, many of them deployed to combat at the same time as their parent.

Military service has become a family tradition and collectively these families have formed a small “military tribe” within our broader society.

Spouses from the outside quickly assimilate when they marry into this warrior tribe. They learn first about the military culture – the rank structures, moving between bases and stations, commissaries and post exchanges, field exercises and deployment orders. They also learn, as one military wife noted, that the spouse associations were not about proper etiquette at social events but about family separation, anxiety and fear of loss and sometimes tragedy.

Because with service comes sacrifice. The son of Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, lost an arm in combat. The son of Army Gen. Mark Graham was killed in action. Beyond these high-profile examples of loss, numerous colonels, sergeants major and first sergeants have seen their children hurt or killed in war.

Their grief has not manifested itself in public displays that are too often the face of grief that get broadcast to the world. Instead, these families nearly always say the same thing: military service was what our child wanted to do, we are very proud, and we miss them terribly. Not long ago an old Marine friend learned that his son had been killed in Afghanistan. Can pride in a son’s service ever compensate for a father’s loss and grief? Some things are in the hands of God.

I hope that on this Memorial Day we can for a moment think about our military tribe. Families that at their core are not much different from other American families, the nation entrusts them with its safety and security and its future as a free people. They comprise less than 1 percent of our citizenry but bear disproportionately the burden of sacrifice.

These families, who have given so much, deserve our utmost praise and respect. Happy Memorial Day!

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