HEROES AMONG US
By Lydia Goodman
November 11, 2014
: a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities
: a person who is greatly admired
This past summer, I was drinking my morning coffee on the veranda of a beach hotel when a young man appeared. I noticed that he was fidgeting, pacing nervously, and unable to sit down without jumping up immediately to begin pacing again. Within minutes, he walked over and struck up a conversation. It was his wedding day and he was exhibiting all the tell-tale signs of a nervous groom. After congratulating him and asking him a few simple questions, he poured out his life story, including details of his combat duty overseas as a military scout for his unit. By the time the young veteran had finished, I was in tears.
He had joined the military, as so many young men and women do, to escape the undeniable inevitability of the life that was before him. He wanted an education; he wanted adventure; and he wanted to serve his country. He described in detail the atrocities he had witnessed and, again in horrific detail, the debilitating effects of the PSTD that he suffered from, after having served two tours of duty. He described the disintegration of his previous marriage because of his anger and depression issues and how much he missed his children. He described how he had vainly sought help from the VA--only to be told there was a six month waiting period. He also told me that he had worked a variety of jobs since his honorable discharge, including one as a state highway patrolman. He had been shot at a simple traffic stop--alive only because of his bullet proof vest. He also had worked as a prison guard, but because of a lack of resources and lack of pay, he had returned to driving trucks across country to make a living, although; he loved his work in law enforcement.
The conversation eventually turned to the way he felt that some in the United States perceived those who had served in the military. One of the examples he gave, other than his VA experiences, was an episode that took place at a funeral procession for a fallen soldier. To paraphrase, “I pulled my truck over, got out, took my hat off, and saluted as the hearse slowly drove by. To my right were a couple of teenagers-about sixteen years old-who were laughing and pointing at me. I couldn’t take it and I turned to them and said, “That person, that soldier, died for you and your freedom so you can stand on a street corner and laugh at me.” When their father asked me what happened, I told him he needed to teach those kids some respect and honor for those that had died serving our country...”
Those kids aren’t the only ones who need to be taught a lesson in respect. Salon.com, known for their liberal, progressive agenda, stooped to a new low when they had the audacity to run one of the most disgusting diatribes against our soldiers, members of law enforcement, and those that respect the sacrifices our uniformed men and women make daily.
The title combined with the first paragraph says it all:
You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy
It's been 70 years since we fought a war about freedom. Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end.
“Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism...” -Salon.com
Let me get this straight. If I respect someone in uniform or someone who has served our country in any capacity, I am guilty of being racist, child-like, and intellectually shallow. Notice the religious overtones found in the words used: worship, anointing, reverent...
I, for one, only worship God.
There will be those who read the article and argue that the author makes some salient points about the promotion of militaristic nationalism and the overuse of the word “hero” in labeling those that serve our country. There will also be some that will reiterate the characterizations of those “bad apples” in the military and law enforcement whom have abused their power in self-serving manners. However, the author fails to differentiate between respect and worship, between true patriotism and jingoism, and between those who willingly sacrifice for our freedoms and those who are mere opportunists.
Should the young man I spoke to be considered a true “hero”? He most likely would resoundingly say, “No”. However, I have a feeling that there are thousands upon thousands of stories just like his--stories of personal sacrifices that will stay with them long after they return from duty. Those stories make them true heroes in my eyes. On this Veterans Day, I simply want to say in my own childlike manner to those that serve...I respect you. I honor you.
© 2014 Lydia Goodman - All Rights Reserve
As a writer and commentator, Lydia Goodman is passionate about speaking out against progressive policies that threaten to erode our personal rights, freedoms, and traditions. Lydia has also written numerous articles on world human rights issues, in an effort to focus attention on the atrocities perpetuated against people of faith.