What happened to the unconditional support that we once gave to our country and now reserve only for our favorite sports teams? Why is anti-America speech cheered today?
I asked myself these questions as I visited the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The Memorial was an extremely moving experience. Within the museum, actual Navy archives from years prior to the Pearl Harbor attack were on display. It was amazing to see the high level of respect for tradition the U.S. Navy had during the World War II era.
For example, there where formal ceremonies whenever a ship brought on a new commanding officer. Navy brass attended in full dress uniforms, while donning replica hats of the first U.S. Navy officers. This showed the respect the current officers had for the hard work and sacrifice the original officers made to make the U.S. Navy the most dominant power in the seven seas.
The military goes through great lengths to teach new recruits to have pride in the fact that it is the greatest military force ever, and instills the respect for its history on how it gained such status.
As an example, I had a friend named Sean that during college rarely attended class, was lazy, and drank at least 10 beers a day. He decided to straighten his life up by joining the U.S. Marine Corps. Reserves-and boy, did it work! When Sean returned from boot camp, he regularly attended class, was motivated, and...well, still drank at least 10 beers a day.
We took Sean to a comedy club in Hollywood on his first night back from boot camp. The first comedian complained about his miserable marriage, the next made fun of horrible L.A. drivers and the third decided to be creative and complain about his miserable marriage. We were drinking beer, having a good time, until the fourth comedian came up on stage. He began to bad mouth America and everything it stands for. The audience laughed and nodded in agreement, but my newly initiated Marine friend was so upset at the anti-American sentiments, that he charged the comedian on stage. He needed to be held back, which wasn't an easy task!
In the aftermath, many of us college guys speculated that Sean was brainwashed by the military and we laughed at the thought that the ideals of America were worth making a scene and fighting for. 14 years later and just returning from the Pearl Harbor Memorial, in Hawaii, I am proud of Sean's patriotism and loyalty to our country. I have to believe that every single soldier who lost his life that tragic day, December 7, 1941, would have been just as offended and defensive as my friend was that night.
It seems like today, unless you are on a U.S. military base, in an oppressed country, or in middle America, it is trendy to bad mouth America and what it stands for. Why is this? Our generation lacks the patriotism previous generations have so proudly displayed.
Why have Schools stopped emphasizing what an incredible accomplishment it was for our forefathers to build a country that for the first time, everyone was granted the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
This generation's educational system, movie makers and coffee house banterers spend the majority of time focusing on the flaws of our past and fail to remember the sacrifice given by good people in hopes to make a great nation. Memorial Day is not just a vacation day for shopping, but also a day to remember those that gave their lives to protect our freedoms.
I think many Americans treat American ideals (the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) similar to how a spoiled child treats his material possessions. We don't appreciate their value because we did not make personal sacrifices to gain them.
Yes, we have flaws. I am not saying America is perfect. But while Americans are complaining that we are killing trees, there is genocide in Rwanda. While Americans passed the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery in 1865, there is still slavery in Sudan. While America's poor may not be getting enough welfare money to buy an extra box of Frosted Flakes, each day there are thousands of people dying of starvation in too many nations to mention. Can we keep things in a little bit of perspective? Our time may be better spent dedicated to fighting for the truly impoverished and tortured. There are several agencies around the globe that would love to have us help fight the true evils of the world.
In the meantime, verbalize your appreciation for our forefathers and the hard work in making this nation the greatest there ever was. For America is not like Jack and the Beanstalk. The prosperity, freedom and rights you and I are reaping didn't grow by magic seeds thrown into the ground.