Posts Tagged ‘History’

Forgetting the evil

“I ask nothing of the Jews
except that they should disappear.”
– Hans Frank, Nazi governor of Poland

Last week I apologized to a Jewish friend for again forgetting the evil, the third year in a row I promised myself I would not forget. I am exactly what evil wants, what evil needs to succeed; wondering if Edmund Burke might have described me when he said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” By ignoring, by standing on the sidelines, by not remembering, are we not condoning evil?

It’s our choice

“The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.” Albert Einstein

Larry Echohawk, the assistant secretary for Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of Interior, recently commented on the mistreatment of the “first Americans” by the United States government. Mr. Echohawk described “very dark chapters” of United States history, including “government atrocities against the Indian people.”

Because of the strong emotions that accompany such statements, exploring these remarks could lead us through a bed of hot coals. But, it’s worth the risk because this topic deserves more discussion.

“Earn this. Earn it.” – Veteran’s Day

Who are the men and women we honor each year on Veterans Day?  An anonymous person offered the following description – “A veteran is someone who at one point in life wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.'”  What makes them write this check, make this promise, show this love of country, this loyalty to country?  Could you or I write this check?

Who are ‘real’ Americans

“Our great modern Republic.  May those who seek the blessings of its institutions and the protection of its flag remember the obligations they impose.”  President Ulysses S. Grant said it well.  It is a blessing to be an American, protected under its flag.

But who are the “real” Americans?  I recently had occasion to ask myself this question.  What is required to be an American?  Is it citizenship?  Is it being born in America, others remaining immigrant Americans?  Are some races, some religions more American than others?  How do we decide who the “real” Americans are?

The best man I ever new – Father’s Day 2009

When the call came that August day, I was working at Safeway, stocking grocery shelves to earn money for college.  My dad was dead; a heart attack.  The family anchor was gone.

Dad was 60, I was 19, and too young to lose my dad.  I was at the age when you know the least, convinced you know the most.  The age when you are pretty sure your dad is outdated, out of touch, and not too bright.  The age when you cannot fathom the possibility you might be wrong.

Is the United States an empire in demise?

George Bernard Shaw said, “We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.” What did our Founding Fathers want for this United States of America? Did they want complacency? Did they hope for mediocrity? Did they dream of dependency? Or, did they demand freedom and opportunity; freedom and opportunity at any price. What have we fought and died for this past 223 years? 

Are we still that proud, patriotic people? What about 911? Was our response the same as following Pearl Harbor, when we were willing to take on the world? Compare that to 911, an even more heinous attack that intentionally targeted civilians. Well, we were appalled for a few weeks, maybe even a few months. 

We ask them to kill – VETERAN’S DAY

We ask our military to do the unspeakable, the unthinkable.  We ask them to kill fellow human beings.  We ask of them what we are unable to ask of ourselves. Moreover, we do not want to see or know what they do.  We are appalled when we see a television image of a marine killing an Iraqi who is “faking dead.”  We condemn that marine.  We must or else we feel we are condoning it.  It doesn’t matter that he did nothing wrong.  We saw it.  We saw him kill that man.  We are not supposed to see that happen.  How dare he make it real. 

Taps for the fallen brave – MEMORIAL DAY

Today we remember those who died in our nation’s service. Today we proudly display the American flag, a small flag in the living room window or a huge flag on a flagpole, the size is irrelevant. The flag is flown at half-staff until noon to honor the fallen brave, and then flown at full staff the remainder of the day. At 3:00 P.M. offer a moment of silence, remembering those who died for us. Memorial Day is the day we are not republicans or democrats, we are Americans, united honoring our war dead.

“A brother’s a brother”

I recently made each of my three brothers a gift, an irregularly shaped piece of three-quarter inch thick walnut about seven inches square, with a two-inch by six-inch brass plaque.  In front of the plaque sits a metal scale model 1996 John Deere riding lawn mower and four small sticks tied in a bundle.  I worried these were a bit too ‘hokey’ and each one might end up in the back of a closet.  Instead, each brother has theirs sitting out.  Well, at least they’re sitting out when I visit.

The war we don’t celebrate

Shouldn’t we celebrate the anniversary of a war?  Don’t the lost lives deserve recognition?  Most wars do deserve celebration; but not all wars.  Wars that never seem to end, that have ongoing deaths, are difficult to celebrate.  Wars like those in many third world countries seem endless; seem to be a way of life, continuing for decades.  How do you celebrate that type of war?  The Palestinians and Israelis have been at war so long the violence is a daily routine. 

The price of ‘freeing the oppressed’

How do you propose an acceptable number of dead American military personnel? How do you justify losing even one American life.  Are there acceptable deaths?

My inability to answer these questions is probably why I did not have the character to serve my country while many of my family members did.  Maybe I could never grasp an understanding of necessary loss of life.  But spend a few minutes with military personnel.  They aren’t confused.  They understand.  They know the risk. They love their country and are willing to “ruck up and close with the enemy.”