Monday, October 08, 2007

Heroes Or The Decline Of A Nation

As a young boy, like many other young American boys, I grew up admiring heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Randolf Scott, John Wayne and Audie Murphy to name a few. Many of my fondest memory's are of going to the drive-in movies and watching bigger than life heroes up on the silver screen duking it out with the bad guys and saving our country. You better believe that, if Friday nights were at the drive-in then it was going to be Saturdays in the fields and woods near the house in a make believe world of cowboy's and soldiers. And if I had a spare moment, when no one was around, I could be found going through the boxes and trunks filled with my fathers old uniforms and photo albums. As I'd rummage through musty uniforms, badges and pictures and travel in those make believe worlds it seemed to me that it was as much my father and grandfather whipping the bad guys and saving their fellow soldiers as it was Roy or Audie. At any rate it was no great leap for me to see my father and grandfather doing all of those heroic things up on that big screen. I think that the reason it wasn't such a great leap was because I was living in that time shortly after World War II when patriotic fervor still bubbled in the land. The country had survived the great depression and beaten the axis powers and had even conquered polio and we were Americans doing the right thing in the world and my family had been part of that experience. I was so very proud.

Today we don't have those hero's. No they are all gone and the ones we should have are too busy taking drugs and or driving drunk. Yeah I don't think Nick Nolte is any Randolph Scott and Mel Gibson is certainly no Audie Murphy. And by the way don't look at sports figures either because when it comes to the Roger Maris' or Mickey Mantles most of the ones that took their places are taking steroids and beating up other people if not their own wives and children. And what about the soldiers, well I haven't seen a George Marshall, Dwight Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, or even a Omar Bradley lately and if there was one of those around I'm certain they would have been fired by now. But most importantly we don't have the "genuine" patriotic fervor that we had in those years during and after World War II. We don't have that sense of knowing we are Americans and that we really do know right from wrong and we really do know about sacrifice and duty and honor and country. No we have lost all of that and it is our fault. Our very own fault. We can point fingers at the politicians in Washington and say it's all their fault. That's the easy excuse and also not the truth. We have become a nation of lazy self indulgent hedonist. As a nation we have lost our moral compass and those in Washington are simply a reflection of that loss and self indulgence.

As I look back over the last 6 years I see that our government has served only to bring clarity to this reality. We can look at the incompetence of our intelligence agencies and the deception and malice of the president and his administration and we know that we have elected and allowed the appointment that incompetence, deception, and malice. We can look at the congress and their failures to perform their constitutional duties and their willingness to accept money and favors from anyone willing to pay for influence and know that we elected the spineless greedy people occupying those offices. But what is most sad is that as we sit here in our comfortable recliners and gape at the world through a rose colored idiot box we are allowing thousands upon thousands of Iraqis and Afghans to die and thousands of American soldiers to die and thousands upon thousands of all of these people and soldiers to be wounded and maimed and we sit.

We sat and thought an unnecessary preemptive invasion was the final straw; and then we sat and thought Guantanamo was the final straw; and then we sat and thought Abu Grahib was the final straw; and then we sat and thought warrant-less wire tapping was the last straw; and then we sat and thought that Blackwater was the final straw and then we sat............ My grandfather served in World War I and my grandmother and my uncle and my father served in World War II and my father served again in Korea. I served in Vietnam and that was a tragedy beyond words but what we as a nation have wrought and continue to execute in Iraq is beyond anything anyone could ever explain much less justify or condone. I am proud of my families service in every conflict this nation has been engage in since the Revolutionary War but I am just as proud that we have not served in this conflict in which we are now engaged. Do not misunderstand. I was and am and always will be a soldier and I am very proud of our soldiers that are now serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, they serve with honor and courage and for their country, but I am not, not proud of our "nation's" actions in this war. Is it not so very sad that I, one who served his country for 27 year, must write a qualifier at the end of my contemplations on the state of our nation.

Those Are The Sergeant Major's Thoughts On That.