Commentary:
Patriotism is Back!
I grew up during WWII. 

I was 3 days away from my 4th birthday when Pearl Harbor happened. 

During the war, which we all followed on the radio, there was a feeling that we ALL were in this together. 

I remember the Scrap Metal Drives. 

I and my buddies would go around with our little wagons--house to house--collecting and mashing tin cans, and any other metal objects we could "collect." 

Periodically, there would be a 'pick up in the neighborhood when a truck would visit and pickup the week's accumulation. 

We would be there with our wagons brimming, and feeling that we--ALL of US--were HELPING the War Effort.  And, in fact we were! 

In the years since that time, I have often lamented that "we will never, in this country, feel that sort of Patriotism again; my kids will never know that special way of feeling--the lump in the throat when the flag passes by, or when the National Anthem is played." 

Well, I was Wrong! 

Everything: good or bad, good or Evil, has some Redemption: For the first time since I was that little kid jumping up and down--flattening those tin cans--I sense and feel that glorious feeling--Patriotism! 

It's Back!   --It is alive and Well! 
 

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A Letter from a friend, David Hendricks
Indeed it is, Glen. I have been amazed myself at the pulling together and the [...] respect for what has happened.

Even in the BOJANGLES fast food joint I was eating in at noon on Friday- everyone in the kitchen, at the counter, in the dining room stopped and bowed their heads in silence as requested by the President. 

The thing that has amazed me the most has been the support other countries are lavishing on our country- The Queen of England ordering her own guard to play our national anthem in front of a crowd of British citizens all waving American flags, some even singing along, many crying... for the victims, for America. 

One reporter on that scene told of his nextdoor neighbor stopping him that morning to speak to the reporter saying, "You yanks are ALWAYS there when you're needed... today I just want to feel close to America. That was more than I could take... I lost it for a few minutes.

A London paper today has a full front-page photo of a tearful Queen Elizabeth, with the huge headline, "Tears For America". 

I had my mouth open in disbelief as I watched *200,000* (the equivalent of the entire population of Raleigh, NC!!) German citzens honoring the victims and America at the Brandenburg Gate- singing Amazing Grace together, again, all waving our Flag. 

Canada military singing our National Anthem in honor.... All of Europe and even Moscow stopping for 3 minutes of silence in honor...  I could go on and on.... 

I wish I could go to every leader of every country that is honoring our people so, and say Thank You to them personally. I know it sounds soggy, but I can't verbalize how touched I have been by their sympathy and support, and I know I'm not the only American that feels this way. 

Who would have ever believed a week ago that the world would now be so nearly completely unifed? Please, God oh please, let us not forget, lest this not last!!!

       David 
 

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A Letter to my Big Brother
Memorial Day, Sunday, 24 May 1998

Dear Harry,

I don't know if you wish someone--particularly a Veteran-- "Happy Memorial Day" or not. 

Watching several Memorial Day related things on TV in recent days reminded me of "My" WWII days. 

I remember the scrap metal drives, the air raid drills--turning out all the lights, pulling the shades and sitting in one room with the only illumination coming from a dim yellow light bulb half of which was painted black. 

And the Star hanging in the front window--over the couch, telling the neighbors that My "Big Brother" was Serving his/our Country. 

Needless to say I was proud of my Big Brother Harry! 

Later as the War dragged on and the endless parade of Soldiers being buried on a daily--sometimes twice daily-- basis; many with no Next-of-Kin, only Legionaries at graveside. (Thank God for the Legionaries, at least they understood what these young men, and their families had sacrificed). 

It slowly dawned on me--what Mom & Dad already knew-- that one day one of these brave young men could be You. It was a realization--in a child's way of picturing the world--that My Big Brother--My Hero --was truly in "Harm's Way," and that I might never see him again. My nightly prayers became more than a childish recitation from there on out. 

I remember going to the movies and watching my Heroes like John Wayne and Randolph Scott, single-handedly winning the WAR. Sometimes the news reels would show something a little closer to reality, and occasionally there would be shots of, what to me then--as now --was the sadist sight in the world: scenes of a beach-head were some of the guys never even made it to shore; they were floating in the back water face-up, sometimes partially covered by sand. It was a picture of "Promise that was to never be." 

Then came the thing that every loved-one cringed at the mere thought of: "The Telegram." --Boy how it Stung! But at least You were still ALIVE! 

Later we got news that you had won the Purple Heart, and the Silver Star for "Gallantry in Action." Boy was I proud of My Big Brother. He was a Hero!

In the many years since, I look back at My childhood collection of Heroes: Joe Louis, Babe Ruth, John Wayne, and years later, Barry Goldwater; and My Big Brother Harry. 

Most "Heroes" can never live up to that Word, and never wish to. 

Reflecting back over my lifetime, I try to think of who my REAL Heroes were. I realize that My Big Brother Harry, had a Profound Impact on my life! 

To Me You have been a Brother, a "Father," a Role Model, and a Best Friend.

To God and Country, You are a Decent, Honest and a Caring Son, Husband, Father, Brother, Friend, and Neighbor. 

Sadly, too often the Real Heroes go unrecognized--even by those closest. 

Harry, this Memorial Day seems a good time to tell You that you are My Hero, and that You have always been--whether I have always known it at the time or not! 

And, that your Medals have nothing to do in making you that Hero, but are confirmation of that fact.

Thanks to You and your Comrades, I never had to Fight a War. And --God Willing--my children will never have to Fight a War. --For that, I Thank You! 

I Love You Big Brother Harry, and God Bless America. 

     Love, 
            glen
 

.. 
Editorial from Miami Herald 
Thursday, 13 September 2001

By Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald



We'll go forward from this moment

It's my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.

IN PAIN

Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel.Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.

THE STEEL IN US

You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received.

And take this message in exchange:

You don't know my people.

You don't know what we're capable of.

You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.
 

 

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