The divided states of America?
Today, I decided to change the name of our country. It seems more appropriate, don’t you think? Because “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America … one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all,” seems to make no sense at the present time. So, possibly until we obtain better common sense, maybe we should shelve the old pledge.
Perhaps we should also pause singing the refrain from this beautiful old song:
God shed His grace on thee
And crown they good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea.
Brotherhood, God’s grace, and a crown appear today as outdated examples of America’s spirit. Right?
As we watch Washington implode, folks becoming more intolerant, discord flourishing, rhetoric reaching new levels of indecency, and Americans passing blame faster than Superman catching a speeding bullet, there is a soldier standing guard at a post in Afghanistan working to save us all from ourselves.
I doubt there is one family in American whose ancestors or current members don’t include a veteran. From the American Revolution to the soldiers deployed now, these brave and oft-forgotten heroes, battle, are injured or killed to keep us as citizens of a free United States.
To find decency, character, and honor look no further than the men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for their country. To discover what solidarity is, look no further than those who belong to a unit of the military. They fight as one to protect each one of us.
My brother, who served as a Lieutenant in the Navy during a year-long stint in Viet Nam, returned home to find solace and comfort at his local VFW. It was there he could talk freely about his experiences in Nam with other veterans who knew and understood a world so few of us can begin to comprehend. I would often desire to know what words were spoken inside those walls, but it was as if the veterans shared memories were held sacred only between each other.
When my brother died, it was the veterans who saluted one of their own. It was the soldiers who woke the sky that April day with the 21-gun salute, and it was the veteran who folded the American flag that covered his casket. It was his fellow warriors who understood integrity, sacrifice, and camaraderie.
A lot of people say our country is doing well. The economy is stable, the stock market is high, and unemployment is down. However, courtesy, decency, honor, respect, and unity are not fairing so well. Matter of fact, they are downright on their deathbed.
I am sure if you go to a military barracks anywhere, you will overhear political discussions and arguing, but when the soldiers see the real enemy marching toward them, they put all aside and fight as one.
While the Republicans and Democrats duke it out, and the name-calling, foul-mouthed leaders spew their hatred, a sailor is quietly guarding the seas around us and our allies.
While we seem to love only those who agree with our beliefs, there is a military troop consisting of different ethnicities, differing opinions, differing political affiliations, discussing the best way to protect their America.
While many of our VA Hospitals remain sub-par, depression and suicide numbers rise among our veterans, and lack of aid for them soar, there is a soldier in South Korea searching the sky for enemy missiles.
While United States citizens become more divided, there is a brotherhood that safeguards this country. Our defenders continue casting a veil of goodness upon this land. They believe how we serve another, is the path to real honor. They are right.
As we approach the holiday season, we might fly by Veteran’s Day in a rush to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our veterans deserve our fervent gratitude. These are the ones who gave so much and asked for so little.
Former Senator Bob Dole, in a wheelchair, crippled by age and injuries sustained as a former soldier, vowed to stand and salute President George H.W. Bush as he lay in state in the Rotunda of our Capitol. The brotherhood between two men who served their country with honor exemplified the meaning of respect.
How do we revive the same respectfulness and integrity that seem to be eluding our nation? Brotherhood from sea to shining sea is what we all should strive to rebuild. A country indivisible with liberty and justice for all is what all Americans should vow to save.
One Nation under God’s grace is what we should never forget and fight, like the soldiers, to maintain. It is an uphill battle, but a veteran is never afraid of such a feat, and neither should we.