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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Soap Box, a Strike, a Bit of Guilt Ridden Apology, and a Sincere Thank You

As you may remember from my prior posting, I have certain somewhat hard feelings towards professional sports as a general whole. I know previously it may have come across as a NFL specific issue but truly, I feel that way towards any “over paid” professional sport. I enjoy watching a good hockey or soccer match, but once again, it’s a bunch of adult men chasing a ball/puck around a field and getting paid absorbent amounts of money to do so.

So, with that said, I do have a bit of guilt even tuning in once a year to the Super Bowl as an excuse to have people over and cook. It just smacks of turning my back on my own rather strong objections. But, I excuse the lapse, pour myself some more wine and give them one more viewer to add to their totals to excuse more excess next year.

Well… Not again. Sorry guys, I won’t be hosting the get together next year, but we’ll find another day I’m sure to potluck it and gather.

Why you may ask? Well, let me start out by saying that I feel as though I owe the American people an apology. More accurately, I owe Iraq War veterans an apology. I owe you an apology for the way we as a country have failed to greet our returning war veterans.

All other wars have closed with the return of our troops to America’s soil and a celebration of the lives lost and lives and freedoms protected by their service to our nation. They have returned to our harbors and airfields among pomp and circumstance and have had ticker tape parades as they’ve marched through New York’s Canyon of Heroe’s.

The Canyon of Hero's walk as we came home from WWI
September 8th, 1919 we celebrated the return of General Pershing and the American Expeditionary Forces returning from Europe and WWI.

June 10th, 1945 we honored General Dwight Eisenhower and his command of the Allied Expeditionary Forces returning from WWII in the European theater. Following later that year were the return of both Fleet Admirals William F Halsey (December 14th) and Chester Nimitz (October 9th) who had both played leadership roles in the Pacific Fleet. In addition we celebrated the release and return of General Jonathan Wainwright, hero of Corregidor who was the highest ranking Japanese held POW during the Pacific Theater conflicts.

Following in 1946 on January 12th the All American Division Army representative James M. Gavin was honored with another parade to mark the end of WWII

In 1953 we held a ticker tape parade for the returning 4th Infantry division as they came home from Korea.

Better late than never, we honored Vietnam Veterans on May 7th 1985. There were probably many reasons for such a delay including public opinion of the Vietnam war, as well as a dramatic fall in such events after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; although on January 30th 1981 we celebrated with a parade the release and return of the American hostages in Iran, a rather diminutive skirmish in relation to the conflict of the Vietnam war

June 10th 1991 we celebrated the return of our veterans from the Gulf War.

On December 18th, 2011 we officially had pulled US troops from Iraq. We still have not held a State sponsored celebration for our returning soldiers from an 8 and a half year theater of war for our “War on Terror”.

Instead, we have managed to hold a ticker tape parade yesterday for the New York Giants winning of the 2012 Super Bowl. In fact, since 1999, we have only held five such parades, all of them in honor of New York State sports team wins.

These are our heroes that deserve a parade for winning a game?
October 29th 1999 the New York Yankees won the World Series
October 30th 2000 the New York Yankees won the World Series
February 5th 2008 the New York Giants won the 2008 Super Bowl
November 6th 2009 the New York Yankees once again won the world series.
And lets not forget February 7th, the New Yor Giants won the 2012 Super Bowl

These are our heroes that deserve a parade for winning a game?

Am I the only one who feels a sense of outrage and questions the morals and greater concerns of our country as they are reflected by these events? For the better part of the last decade we have had families separated by military services or torn apart by the death of their serving family members. We have had a large percentage of our young adult generation overseas doing what they thought they could to protect our way of life and personal freedoms as outlined by our constitution. And even if I may not have supported the war, I feel as though I owe my thanks and gratitude for them risking their lives and support their choice to serve our country in the armed forces. Now I feel even more guilt for taking the time to watch a bunch of silly tights wearing men chasing an odd shaped ball across a fake grass field instead of posting a thanks to our service men and women to my blog earlier. And for that, I truly Thank You.

It seems as of late that every time I talk to co-workers about their families and friends or go out in public I am depressed by what I see and hear as our priorities as a society. Kids, and even adults with no sense of responsibility or accountability for their own actions. Spoiled brats that feel entitled to anything and everything with no respect to others. Schools lacking quality teachers, and parents that leave the education and general rearing of their children to said schools. Our elders or incapable left to the mercy of an overtaxed social security and welfare system that is quickly running towards bankruptcy. And for a country where we are supposed to all be equals under the law, we still see hate crimes against one another because we are not of the same sex, creed, color, religion or sexual orientation that take thousands of lives annually because we can’t see past our own hatred to give each other the respect that another human is due. We live in a country that is so heavily separated by our political views that our government is more and more bogged down with political infighting than doing it’s job of passing legislation that has the good of the people – all the people – in mind. Not those of a specific group in order to pad their assurance of votes for the next election.

It all reminds me of a quote from Renee Zellweger in the movie Cold Mountain.

“Every piece of this, is mens bullshit
They call this war a cloud over the land.
But they made the weather, and then
Stand in the rain and say, ‘Shit, it’s rainin!’ “

I can’t help but feel that all of the problems I observe are of our own making. We’ve lost site of ourselves and our own responsibilities. We The People have no accountability for our actions and are too busy pointing our fingers at others and trying to sue to get what we feel is owed to us though we haven’t worked for it, and this is what we get with that mind set. We get gangs killing our cops and pulling our kids into their drug fueled and violence torn lifestyle. We have people living off a failing system instead of finding a way to better the system as a whole. We stand here wondering why we no longer feel safe in our own homes and secure in our futures while squandering what we earn and blaming our expenditures on the economy, the president, or China instead of holding ourselves accountable for our own choices. We’re standing in the rain we made and instead of finding ourselves an umbrella we’re fiendishly prancing around in a rain dance while the waters rise.

I know, these are some broad generalizations, but I hope you see my point. And if not I apologize. Even more so, I apologize for this postings feeling of negativity. I wanted to start out the New Year by holding others up, pointing out the funny, the uplifting, or just the joyous when I saw it, and that is not what this posting does. Especially since I have no fix for what I see crumbling around me, this posting smacks of whining to my own ear. However I do want to say I see, and more importantly feel hope. I see that I play a role, even if it’s just by changing my own perspective. By taking the responsibility to step up my own role in the community, I hope to take accountability for the role I play.  So, the next time there’s a homecoming here in Casper, I’m going to make an effort to attend, and show my respect for their service in person. Starting today, and using this public forum, I’m going to say Thank You to those that deserve it.

To the two men who organized the St Louis parade to honor our returning soldiers, I want to extend my personal thanks. Craig Schneider and Tom Appelbaum, two men who also saw the lacking of a welcome for our Iraq War soldiers and took it upon themselves to arrange such an event, we owe you a thank you. It may not have been a ticker tape parade, but it was good to see someone else noticed.

Thank you, to the soldiers for your effort, sweat, and blood in Iraq, and thank you to two men who made this even happen
And as for the next Super Bowl? I’m sure there’s something more worthy to take up my time than helping make sure some professional sportsman gets another multimillion dollar contract to chase his toys 

PS: I normally try to use my own photos for my blog. As you've seen I have in the past used other online sources for images, but I feel that I should start notating when I use such a source. All three of these photos came from internet news sources/archives.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Q. Even I, as a life-long pacifist, recognize the sacrifices our veterans have made in hope for a betterment of the world. Bless them all. - Joe