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America has always been great, but has also made great mistakes

November 11th, 2016 Leave a comment Go to comments

franklin-justice

I am one of the relatively small percentage of people who put on a uniform in a time of war and literally risked everything for this country. Admittedly I was only dimly aware of the possible consequences when I volunteered, but I think that is the way of youth. Some who were much better aware hid behind fake disabilities while they put on military costumes and marched around the campus of private schools. The point is that I have at least as much stake in this country as anyone, and I have earned the right to exercise the freedoms that this nation has championed, including freedom of speech.

America has always been a beacon of the higher ideals of the so-called enlightenment. But at the same time the United States has been the location and the perpetrator of some of the ugliest injustices in world history. I, and I think most veterans, pledged ourselves to defending the former against the latter. Sometime that sentiment was abused, as was the case in Vietnam, where excellent men and women sacrificed to save the asses of cowardly politicians.

Now I am old and the country no longer has use for the kind of service I could offer in a military capacity. But I have never lost sight of that higher vision of America. Today a wave of fear and vitriol has been awakened, encouraged, and is sweeping across the nation, bringing to the forefront the worst of the American tradition. But there are many, probably most, who still cling to the vision of the sweet land of liberty.

I am one of them, and I pledge to continue to defend the country against all enemies foreign and domestic in whatever way I can, for as long as I can.

Happy Veterans Day.

“So much was lost with you, so much talent and intelligence and decency. …[Y]ou embodied the best that was in us. You were a part of us, and a part of us died with you, the small part that was still young, that had not yet grown cynical, grown bitter and old with death. Your courage was an example to us, and whatever the rights and wrongs of the war, nothing can diminish the rightness of what you tried to do. Yours was the greater love. You died for the man you tried to save, and you died pro patria. It was not altogether sweet and fitting, your death, but I’m sure you died believing it was pro patria. You were faithful. Your country was not.”

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