Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Call to Patriotism

I'm really not a fan of Oprah Winfrey but Marjie does DVR each show and watches some of them.  Today, she was working through the DVR, deleting some things, watching others, and then came across Oprah's show from a few days ago.  The show was about military families and the 2 wars going on right now, the longest running wars in our nation's history.  Tom Brokaw, famed journalist Bob Woodward, and the First Lady, Michelle Obama, were all guests.  Did you know that < 1% of our country's population is in the military, defending our freedom?  Amazing stat that I did not know.  Also true is that unless you know someone who is in, you probably don't give much thought to the military and the two wars.  No, this is not a blanket statement to ALL (so don't go get offended if you don't fit that mold), but it is typical.  It's most obvious in the press where not much attention is given at all and in the daily newspaper.  Usually, something war-related is in the paper but it's buried somewhere in the back unless it impacts a family locally.  As I watched the show, I was flooded with emotion.  I was angry at times.  I was on the brink of tears at other times.  Angry because so many people are ignorant to the fact that we have two wars going on (go ahead and believe Iraq is done...and you'd be wrong) and the impact this has on not only the soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine, but to the family who waits at home or the family who is left behind if the unthinkable happens.  America is sleeping to the fact of these two wars and people actually believe we're done with Afghanistan in'd be wrong.  Listen to me: whether you agree or disagree with the wars...well, I really couldn't care less.  The fact is that we're in them...period.  We, as a nation, as Americans, are in them!  We, as a nation, need to do a better job at recognizing that and stop thinking of those who serve and their families on the designated holidays only.  Patriotism is a 365 day job.  Period.

One story rocked me to the core.  I am so proud and thankful for this soldier.  I am so proud and thankful for his wife, too.  She's a hero, herself.  These stories are far more common than you think but we don't hear much.  In my opinion, this is due in large part to the military member's and family's "we can do it on our own" belief.  I know that belief.  I have it.  I feel the exact same way in our home.  So, when something happens, it is very rare that the impacted family is going to go looking for help and hold their hands out.  HIGHLY unlikely.  They're strong.  They're united.  They can handle it..or so they think.  The truth is that they need others to truly care to come alongside them and love them.  Watch this...please:
The thing is this: you can't make someone be patriotic...I mean truly patriotic to their core.  I don't know if it's upbringing, the immediate society that surrounds someone...I don't know.  Back during Vietnam, soldiers were NOT welcomed home with open arms.  Many were hateful to them.  We don't see that, today...thankfully, but we really don't much of anything.  We hear "economy, economy, economy" or why the Speaker of the House cries so much or how many jobs the government is going to create.  (oh yea, the government can't create jobs...we the people do that)  Why does something on such a large scale have to happen to get people to fly their flag and support those who stand as surrogates for them while they sleep safe and sound at home in the U.S. of A?  WHY?!?!?

Instead of posting a tribute video (which I almost did) or a Toby Keith video (I'll save that for another fist-raising kind of day), I thought I'd share a video that my girls came running to watch when they heard it.  It's a video about celebrating families, love, and bringing our brothers and sisters home.  The truth about awareness sung loud as they watched it: a friend was over who was also standing there...had no idea what she was watching...not a clue.  I didn't have to say a word, girls were all over that!  "Those are soldiers!  They just came home from war!"  Dangit, I love them!
At the end of Oprah's show, Michelle Obama came out and announced that in March, her and the Vice President's wife are teaming up in some kind of military family support initiative.  Lots of the details can be found at I took a look and there's some pretty great info on there.

If you felt a cattle prod while reading this...good!  We all can stand to do more, support more, and show that support to both our military and their families.

No comments: