This past summer, I attended a funeral. Two funerals, actually- within days of each other. One was of a man who died too young. The other was for a man who, I suppose, was ready to go home. The second man was a World War II Navy veteran. The day he was laid to rest was memorable for many reasons, but the recognition of his military service which followed the ceremony at the church is something I’ll always remember. At the graveside service, there were two representatives of the Navy that saluted him and played “Taps”. The flag that draped his casket was carefully folded and given to my aunt, his widow.
Rituals such as these serve to remind those of us in younger generations of how precious to our republic was the service of the Greatest Generation- those who beat down the forces of evil that manifested themselves in the forms of Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism. They made their mark on American history, and for that we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Since then, other generations have also served in uniform, some to much less acclaim and adoration than those who fought in WWII. Their sacrifice for freedom for Americans and people around the world should never be diminished, which is one reason we celebrate days like Veterans Day. All of them have their stories, some of triumph…many of sorrow and loss…that only those who’ve been in war can understand.
There have been, and will always be critics of our military actions around the world, and that’s fine. These men and women have served to defend the right to express those beliefs. I do have a problem with those who would say our actions throughout history have been arrogant. Even now, as young men and women risk their lives and give up time with their families, we’ve had people in our own government saying that Americans have been arrogant…always thinking our way is best.
Well, when you have an inspired Constitution that has held your nation together for more than two hundred years, built a republic based on a free enterprise economy that created the wealthiest nation on the face of the planet and is the envy of the world (or at least was the envy of the world)…and has been a place where employees can become employers…isn’t that something to be proud of? Isn’t that something to want to share with the world? Wouldn’t it be selfish to keep this way of life to ourselves? Why wouldn’t other people living in typically-oppressed nations want freedom as much as we do? Why wouldn’t they want to live in a place where you aren’t born into a “station” in life, and that’s where you stay until you die?
The truth is, people from all over the world have come here and are continuing to come- even with all our problems- with the hope of making a better life for themselves and their families. The desires for freedom and to better oneself are not American characteristics. They’re human characteristics given to all of us by God.
So, if being a strong leader among nations is arrogant, if wanting to bring to the darkest parts of the world the light of freedom and liberty is arrogant, and if wanting other nations to know the kind of success that you’ve had in your country is arrogant, then I say—the world could use more of this kind of arrogance! We don’t need the kind of arrogance that feels it necessary to apologize and pander to people who will never like us, no matter what we do.
In ending this Veteran’s Day post, I wanted to link to a slideshow I put together showing just how “arrogant” America has been—particularly in Europe. I can’t take credit for the content because it’s based on an email** that I received a couple months ago. The email rightly points out that you don’t see any Dutch, British, French or Italian cemeteries here in the United States. This goes to show how willing Americans have always been to defend the rights of people the world over, not just fellow Americans.
I took the pictures in the email and set them in backgrounds, added a few titles and some awesome music that I hope will help anyone who reads this to remember all veterans, living and deceased, whenever and wherever they served…today and every day.
**Note to left-wing drive-by commentators from the land of fruits and nuts: I checked the statistics in the original email myself with the American Battle Monuments Commission’s website to ensure accuracy and made changes when necessary. So, no whining about taking my facts from a forwarded email!