guilty pleasure monday: america the beautiful (ray charles)

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!

every year on memorial day, i think about the sacrifices men and women have made for our country. sure, i gripe a bit about other things, too, like the rolling thunder people who take over our area for the long weekend.  but i have several family members, living and now gone, who are veterans.  and i am proud of all of them, and i am proud of all the people, young and old, who have chosen to protect my rights.

and i get really tired nowadays about hearing the old crap that’s continually trotted out as supposed common knowledge: that because i disagree with the war in iraq that i somehow don’t care about service people.  it’s actually because i care about service people that i am disgusted with what has gone down as one of the worst military blunders, in my view, in american history. (and we have had our share of those, sadly. you don’t have to look far for them. vietnam, for starters… bay of pigs… i could keep going here…) first and foremost, these are our people — someone’s son, someone’s daughter, someone’s mom or dad, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, cousin… these are people who have stepped up to the plate and who have pledged to protect our nation.

but what exactly are they protecting our nation from in iraq?

i can understand going after terrorists, and frankly, the mess that is afghanistan is partially due i think to our half-hearted attention to that part of the world. i agree there are times when our military stands strong in the face of horror; and that’s a part of the world where we should have been looking all along.

and now, it is all such a colossal mess.

i can’t believe it is yet another memorial day, and we are still in iraq. we still aren’t making a dent in afghanistan. pakistan is nuts. and we are no closer now to finding osama bin laden.

well, maybe there is a segment in this country that finds me unpatriotic. but it is because of the sacrifices and hard work of my immigrant grandparents, it is because of all that my parents have taught me, and it is all because of the world i want my children to inherit from my generation that i disagree with the military direction of this nation.  i disagree loudly. i disagree deeply. and i will disagree patriotically.

and you can bet that i know that i can thank a soldier for that.

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