Is it Just Me?

Isn't it awesome to wake up in a beautiful nation? Well, I know she has some problems but historically, isn't she beautiful? I don't know about you, but, I love a moment of silence when I stand before the colors. As the red, white, and blue whips in the breeze and shows off her stars and stripes I think "oh how beautiful. It's like watching a Clydesdale strut in formation. Even today at 57 years of age, I often tear up when I stand for our National Anthem. When you hear the Anthem, do you ever have reflection to the many battles at home and abroad? Oh, those who fought and died for me. The American's who never returned home and rest abroad. Those who died for me and were never found. I could go on but I'm sure you get the point.

When I think of Old Glory and what she represents, I think of a nation of people with many of color, beliefs, dreams, faiths, and a common love of country. I stand before a flag that flies so beautifully day and night, at home and abroad. I remember times in my life where our beautiful flag pushed my chest out a tad. I remember back about 35 years ago during my freshman year of college, I was with my buddy Bobby watching the U.S. Olympic Hockey team beat the Soviet Union in what was called the "Miracle on Ice" and allowed the U.S. to advance to the Gold Medal Round and bring home the gold medal eventually. Then a few years later when young teen Mary Lou Retton made America proud (not to mention her home state of West Virginia-my home state as well).

Even though we hear stories of how nations abroad hate the United States and all she stands for, I can't argue that point. But, I can say I witnessed the love of America abroad from time to time and oh how awesome it was. I remember back around 1998 or 99 conducting an Emergency Evacuation of AMCITS (American Citizens) and Allied Nation citizens from a U..S. Embassy. Sometimes when doing things where your adrenaline is pumping you "just do" what is needed and you don't remember allot about it until later or maybe never. However, something on this mission stood out and has always been a part of memory. While hurrying folks along and trying to expedite the process, it required us (U.S. Special Operations and Special Forces) to pick up and carry some of the younger evacuees to the awaiting helicopters. The point I'm getting to is how awesome it was when several non-English speaking children reached up and took the American flag patch that was attached by Velcro. The child would smile as if holding the American flag was a sense of security.

On another occasion, it was a week or two before Christmas in 1999, we held up in Zagreb, Croatia awaiting weather clearance to move to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The weather was unbelievably cold and lots of snow fell for days. The U.S. mission was to keep the weekly rotations of food and aid flowing in to the refugees who fled their homes for safety. Once on the ground in Sarajevo, it was apparent the weekly rotation had been delayed based on the number of citizens lined along the fence line awaiting aid. It was so cold and so many of the people lacked proper cold weather attire. A few had cardboard shoes while others were wrapped in cardboard coats lined with plastic. The U.S. military aid flights carried humanitarian packages with food, clothing, medicine and so forth. You know the drill. The thing that has always stood out and taken a place in my heart is the reaction of the citizens when the U.S. military C-5s and C-17s started coming in for landing, one by one. Even through the misery and freezing cold, one by one, the smiles started appearing on faces and many of the older citizens in need started pointing to the large U.S. flag painted on the tails of the humongous jets. They would point to the flag on our uniforms and then to the flag on jet and softly clap their chapped hands. Even in the freezing cold one couldn't help but have a warm heart. Oh the joy and pride of being American.

So, just as other nations hate the United States and what she stands for, there's still some who are good and appreciate the humanity. And, inside the United States we have citizens who abuse the system and good of other's, we still have good people all around. When you read the article below, think about those before us who paid the ultimate price to give us the documented freedoms, teachers, military, police officers and firemen.....the list is many. The problem appears to be the foundation and fiber that many good citizens founded and established before us is now unacceptable to others. In short "We the People" are now outsiders looking in and wondering how to derail this fast moving train and get things back to "baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet" or something like that. So, enjoy the read below and think about what our forefathers said and warned us about. What say you?

Many blowhards attack those who criticize powerful people in America. (Washington's Blog - 22 March 15) They treat any questioning of "authority" as being "anti-American" or "anti-government". Indeed, according to Department of Defense training manuals, protest is "low-level terrorism". And see this, this and this. Similarly, an FBI memo labels peace protesters as "terrorists". But - as shown by the following quotes - those are anti-American thoughts. Indeed, as Americans, we are very pro-America. But we're anti-CORRUPTION, anti-FASCISM and anti-PILLAGING AND PLUNDERING. If that makes us controversial, so be it ... we're in very good company:

"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizen from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error" - United States Supreme Court decision in American Communications Association v. Douds "To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men." - Abraham Lincoln "Those who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." - Thomas Jefferson "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism." -Thomas Jefferson "It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F . Kennedy "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." - Samuel Adams "Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country." - Teddy Roosevelt "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." - Teddy Roosevelt "The citizen who sees his society's democratic clothes being worn out and does not cry it out, is not a patriot, but a traitor." - Mark Twain "Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it." - Woodrow Wilson "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent" - Thomas Jefferson "This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural "In this point of the case the question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions." - Andrew Jackson "I am more than ever convinced of the dangers to which the free and unbiased exercise of political opinion - the only sure foundation and safeguard of republican government - would be exposed by any further increase of the already overgrown influence of corporate authorities." - Martin Van Buren, Eighth President of the United States "As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters." - Grover Cleveland, 22nd and 24th President of the United States "I again recommend a law prohibiting all corporations from contributing to the campaign expenses of any party.... Let individuals contribute as they desire; but let us prohibit in effective fashion all corporations from making contributions for any political purpose, directly or indirectly." Teddy Roosevelt added, "The fortunes amassed through corporate organization are now so large, and vest such power in those that wield them, as to make it a matter of necessity to give to the sovereign - that is, to the Government, which represents the people as a whole - some effective power of supervision over their corporate use. In order to insure a healthy social and industrial life, every big corporation should be held responsible by, and be accountable to, some sovereign strong enough to control its conduct." - Theodore Roosevelt "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted." - Dwight D. Eisenhower "It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. ...And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.... - Franklin Roosevelt "A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people's property, other people's money, other people's labor - other people's lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness." - Franklin Roosevelt "These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for." - Franklin Roosevelt "Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day." - Theodore Roosevelt "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness." -Thomas Jefferson, American Declaration of Independence

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