On Memorial Day as I walked the grounds of Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver I thought a lot about patriotism. I looked at the graves before me and then thought that there were 98,000 souls who have gone on before me in this very cemetery I was visiting to pay my respects to fallen soldiers and veterans. Some had fallen in combat and many had served and died as old men who were proud to be veterans and to have served the United States of America in her Armed Forces. The immensity of gratitude I felt towards them was profound and intense. Because of them, I and millions of Americans have freedom and are blessed to live in the best nation in the world. I write to this to honor those brave military men and women who have served and who serve the United States of America.
My first thought as I surveyed the grave sites around me was that America, through her military actions has set people free and given them freedoms like the ones we enjoy. America fights only 'good wars.' World War Two was the last war to be called a 'good war' but Korea, Vietnam and now The War Against Terror being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have all been good wars in spite of what some people may say or think. Those who do not agree have that right to disagree given to them by the same men who fight and die to protect our Bill of Rights and Constitution. One can write an article online as I am doing, send a letter to the editor or participate in a peaceful demonstration. Our First Amendment in the Bill of Rights gives us that freedom. We have set the world free from Nazism, Communism and are working to set the world free from radical Islamic terrorism. We have succeeded in Iraq and that country is no longer ruled by Saddam Hussein, a monstrous dictator.
The Holocaust and Nazi tyranny in Europe were stopped during World War Two due to the fact that many men fought, served and fell to free Europe. 11.000.000 innocent victims, including 6,000,000 Jews lost their lives during the Holocaust. If it had not been for the United States and her allies many more would have died. It was a war that had to be fought to free people and bring justice to the enemy. Imperial Japan was stopped with two atomic bombs which saved millions of American soldiers and marines if an invasion of Japan had occurred instead. War is not pleasant but it ensures the life and freedom of America, her allies and those who are harmed by world tyrants.
Communism fell as it could not compete economically with us due to the Communist plan of government. They could not provide all the necessities to their citizens that Americans take for granted. They had to compete with the USA in an arms race and this bankrupted their economy and let capitalist and democratic government take the place of Communism. The Warsaw Pact disintegrated and the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The Eastern half of Europe was free from the yoke of Communism. Most of Europe now has a thriving economy and the former Warsaw Pact nations are loving their freedom and new found way of life.
The same is happening in Iraq and wherever the USA fights radical Islamic terrorism. We have bankrupted Al Queda and assassinated Osama Bin Laden, their evil leader, who plotted the 9-11 terror attack on America. One of the ironies of History is that his death was proclaimed on 05/01/2011 just as Adolf Hitler's suicide was announced on 05/01/1945. Given enough time and effort we will forever destroy terrorism just as we have destroyed Nazism and Communism. I remember the first free election in Iraq after Saddam Hussein was out of power. The Iraqis were ecstatic and pointed their blue inked fingers proudly proclaiming they finally were able to vote for whomever they wished to vote for. That was a marvelous day in the USA too knowing that our actions freed them of tyranny.
Patriotism is also the simple act of helping other countries and other Americans in need. As I see the people in communities like Joplin, MO and Tuscaloosa, AL come together and rebuild their cities after two devastating tornadoes I see this as an act of patriotism too. America is the first to help any nation who experiences a natural disaster. After the recent tsunami in Japan America was the first nation there to help. After the devastating Pacific tsunami in 2004 we were the first there too. This can be said for thousands of other disasters as well. Gordon Sinclair, the Canadian journalist, put it so aptly in his speech, The Americans. He declared I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble.
Tomorrow we celebrate Flag Day. Please remember the brave men who fought and died for you and what the USA means and is. Patriotism is loving your country, even to the point of dying for it. Fortunately most of us don’t have to go that far. Display your flag and say a prayer for America, her leaders and especially the soldiers and veterans who fight to die to protect it and preserve our most sacred freedoms. God bless the USA forever and forever….