Perhaps it's because of all the negative comments being hurled by the left at the movie "American Sniper." Perhaps it's because as a Christian and a military veteran I am saddened watching my country change so much in the last six years - drifting ever more rapidly to a society that puts political correctness over right and principle, even at the risk of America's demise. Or perhaps I just woke up happy to be in this great nation that in many ways is unlike any other in history.
Whatever the reason, I woke up with the song "God Bless America" echoing in my head. I learned it as a child and can still remember the words. Do kids in school these days still learn that song and/or others that were patriotic staples when I was young? Frankly, I have my doubts.
Those of you who are my age (or nearly there) remember:
God bless America; land that I love.
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam...
God bless America, my home sweet home.
That's it. That's the entire song. But what a great request. There is no doubt that God has blessed our nation in the past. We started out as an assortment of colonies wanting religious freedom and freedom from the oppressive British government. As time moved on leaders were born - leaders who would eventually design and develop a government based on individual liberties and run by the will of the people. In the late 1770s we declared then, in a hard fought struggle, won our freedom from Great Britain. Thus the constitutional republic, the "United States of America," was born.
It took about 100 years for the USA to become the world's leading economic power. That occurred following the Civil War, between 1870 and 1900. The industrial revolution between 1820 and 1870 served to boost the USA's world standings to the top.
The United States fought wars against the evils in the world, helping to rid Europe of the scourge that was Nazi Germany and defeating an over-ambitious Japan on the other side. Funny thing about the United States - when we win a war we immediately begin helping our former enemies rebuild. We fight wars for principles, not territory or other spoils. And certainly not for oil, as some people pretend to believe.
My father served in the Army during World War II. He didn't see combat - he was a Chaplain's clerk stationed in Alaska, where he had experience dealing with German POWs. I was always proud of him but he wasn't really the inspiration for me to join the Air Force 30 plus years later. I joined for several reasons, none of which were blatant patriotism - at least until I got there.
I remember my first retreat ceremony in basic training, standing at attention in formation with hundreds of other young men and women as the National Anthem was played, followed by Retreat as the flag was lowered. The pride that welled in me at that moment, knowing I was a part of something special, something strong and great and American, has never left me. Even 38 years later, every time I hear the National Anthem in a public place my body automatically snaps to attention. I can't help it.
I served 8 years in the Air Force, at three different duty stations. My first two assignments were stateside, one in Colorado and one in California. The possibility of war was always there although there were no major conflicts during my service time - the biggest being the US invasion of Grenada in October of 1983. My last assignment was in Wiesbaden, Germany, from 1982 to 1985, where preparation for conflict was more openly practiced, mostly because of Islamic terrorism and the local Red Army Faction. In addition to the invasion of Grenada that year, also in October, Muslim terrorists blew up the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Some of the survivors came to the hospital in Wiesbaden.
In June of 1985, Muslim terrorists (Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad) captured TWA flight 847 enroute from Athens, Greece, to San Diego. They held the passengers hostage, beating some and killing one U.S. Navy diver. They also separated those passengers with Jewish sounding names from the others. In August of that year the Red Army Faction exploded a car bomb on Rhein Main Airbase, about 20 miles from Wiesbaden, killing two airmen and wounding 20 others. I still remember watching a friend of mine, who was stationed at Rhein Main, unloading some of the wounded from the med-evac bus outside the Emergency Room that morning. Even though the U.S. wasn't involved in any major wars at the time, the threat to U.S. service personnel in Europe was very real.
I got out of the Air Force in 1985. I continued serving the country I love for another 22 years, as an employee of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a branch of the Justice Department, retiring after 30 years of total service.
I'm not telling this story to toot my own horn. I loved what I did, both in the Air Force and the Bureau of Prisons. My point is that I get really angry when someone, particularly some big mouth celebrity, bad mouths our military members, in some cases posthumously, having never done a thing to support and defend this great nation.
I get angry when our elected President puts down the very nation he was elected to lead, acting as if we aren't one of the most generous, considerate friends the rest of the world has ever had.
I get angry when the leaders of this nation and the rest of the free world feel the need to be so politically correct that they not only won't admit who our enemies are but go out of their way to appease them and deny the truth, even as the truth is catching up to us all.
I get angry when I see our President befriending (and monetarily supporting) those who would seek the destruction of the United States while alienating our allies around the world.
I get angry when I observe that our President, from all outward appearances, seems to be an anti-Semite who is all but turning his back on our strongest ally and best friend in the Middle East.
And I get angry when I watch the childish behavior that same President displays when someone does or says something he doesn't like, including news organizations. Say what you will about past Presidents but none of them, at least in my lifetime, ever made rude, disparaging public comments about those who disagreed with them.
In "The World According To Barack Obama," if it wasn't for Republicans, Fox News and George W. Bush, everything in his presidency would be wonderful.
To sum it all up I would like to see the next President be a God-fearing patriot with the courage to lead the world instead of apologize to and appease it. I would like to see a U.S. leader who ignores political correctness and tells it like it is, good or bad, both to the people of the United States of America and the rest of the world.
I would like to have a leader who will stand against evil - one who will prevent, by any means necessary, radical nations from attaining nuclear weapons to be used against our allies and one who will defend our allies however and whenever necessary. And I would like to have a President who builds and respects our military and understands that Ronald Reagan was correct - that "peace through strength" is still the best policy for the nation that leads the free world.
I can't help but wonder where we're going to find one of those....