As you probably know from what I have written here, I am a Veteran. I am also a widow of a Veteran. I am a child of a Vet and a granddaughter of another Vet. I have family members who died in WWII and are buried in Europe. You could say military service runs in my family. You could say that my family was patriotic and loyal to their country.
It makes me sad when I read that some groups are getting together on Independence day so that they can burn the US flag. It is done in the name of “free speech.” Why am I sad? Because the flag is a symbol of our country and our people. Because when I was in the Navy, every morning we would stand and salute the flag. It reminded us as sailors, soldiers, and airmen of the reasons we were in a foreign country. It was for our families, our neighbors, and our country.
It saddens me when a group of people intimidate others through violence and coercion. The most recent group being “Antifa.”
This was not why I joined the Navy. This was not why my family joined the Navy and Army in wars. We truly believed what it said in the Constitution. We truly believed that we are a “nation of laws.” No one group of people is more equal than another. We are equal as individuals.
I’ve heard the argument that to make everyone equal we need to become exactly the same. Bullsh-t. What makes this country wonderful is that we all have the “opportunity” to make something of ourselves. We can be free in word and deed.
If I am speaking a strange language, then I am sorry. I am sorry that you did not learn your “civil rights” in school. I am sorry that you learned to be exactly like everyone else in your group. I am sorry that you didn’t learn discipline and the ability to set a goal and see it through. I am sorry that you are weary of the world of “instant gratification.”
Tomorrow as we celebrate this “grand new experiment” please stop and read. Read the “Declaration of Independence.” the “Constitution”, and the “Federalist papers.” Read what the Founding Fathers had to say. They weren’t just white males who owned slaves. They were educated. They were thinking past their generation. They were visionaries.
Let me leave you with the Pledge of Allegiance:
This time last year, I was grieving for the loss of my late-hubby. As a unit, we didn’t celebrate the season. It had a lot to do with only the two of us in the house and how hard it is to keep secrets from each other. I remember buying a blue Norwegian sweater in Germany. When the late-hubby asked where I got it, I told him “Thank you for the Christmas present, honey.”
He found that funny. When he wanted something, usually tool or Amateur radio related, he would tell me that it was a great Christmas present. So our little joke was preserved.
This year without him and over a year away from losing him, I had the urge to decorate. Since I am short on cash and long on wants, I ended up getting a small tinsel tree and some lights at Wal-Mart. When I need some thinking time, I sit on my chair with my little dog on my lap, listen to the crackling of my Yule log DVD, and look at the lights. Even if our Christmas tradition was to avoid the holiday shoppers, I have found a new tradition of lights.
Listening to the crackle, feeling the warmth of the dog on my lap, and feeling the yarn and needles in my hands– for a moment I am at peace.
It has taken me months to realize what my late-hubby meant when his last words were “I want you to be happy.” He said this to his daughters and to me. It was the most important thing for him. I am of Norwegian Viking blood so I come naturally to the somberness of that breed of people who conquered the Northern wastes. I was even born south of the Arctic Circle.
I do love the sun, but I have that fair skin that burns easily. So my best seasons are spring and fall. Summer is the time I get to look out the window and lust after the sunseekers.
So happiness is something I have to work to gain. I meditate. I walk the dog. I am mindful of what I eat. I am learning –painfully sometimes– that joy is fleeting, but happiness and peace comes from balance.
Thank you for the success with Hilda’s Inn for Retired Mercenaries. When I saw the numbers rise and stay high, I felt joy.
May your holiday season bring you peace and happiness… and joy.
Just recently, I have been listening to the brouhaha about Starbucks(r) and their plain colored coffee cups. I want to inject a little sanity right now.
What the heck. Why are you interested in Christmas before Thanksgiving? It would make more sense to yell at Starbucks(r) for the Pumpkin Spice Latte (shudder) that they sold for Halloween than to get excited about Christmas coffee containers.
There I said it… Christmas. It is unnatural to even be thinking of lights and trees with presents all around until after Thanksgiving. Save it for Black Friday.
Heck I have more of a problem with their desire to use Italian for the cup sizes instead of being smart and saying small, medium, and large. So much for Starbucks(r) and the now plain red cups. At least the baristas aren’t forcing a dialog with me about the topic du jour.
When I do get a cuppa, I Veni, Vidi, Vici.
So let’s keep Christmas in December. My new motto.
If you’d like to read some fantasy and a little sci-fi, my books are here.
My most recent release is Hilda’s Inn.
Sword and Sorcery
Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.
Percy is a trader, a rescuer, a time traveler who works under the radar of the authorities. His backer is a so-called criminal organization called the family.
Percy may be a swashbuckler, but he doesn’t want Grandma, the matriarchal head, mad at him.
Today I took a shower and walked Foxy, the little chihuahua. I am only mentioning these two things because I usually need an hour rest between these two actions. Even so I am a little out of breath and my heart is beating faster than usual.
It is hard to be alone. I envy the chronic illness patients who are able to survive without a companion. Part of the reasons I need someone is that much of my mind is occupied with other things. I am not happy unless I am creating. It has been hard to create when I am grieving, which brings me to my real post of honor, duty, and promises.
My late-hubby did not die on the battlefield of Vietnam. Plus he was very aware of the capriciousness of life. Even though I know in my heart that Agent Orange from his tours in Vietnam caused his early death (67), I have been unable to get anyone else to agree. In his own words he said that “we drank it, ate it, and bathed in it. Agent Orange was in everything.” He didn’t die on the battlefield, but he and many Vietnam Vets are dying from the battlefield.
I honor those who fought and gave the ultimate sacrifice. I honor those who fought and gave their health. I honor all those who now pay the price everyday in cancers, fatigue, and chronic illnesses. They gave all.
Every generation my family gives one or two family members to the military. My great uncle died in WWII and is buried in Belgium. My grandfather lost a lot of friends in WWII when his ship sunk in Leyte Gulf. He is gone now.
If I go back far enough, we have family members who fought in the Revolutionary War. My late-hubby’s family had a patriarch that died in the Civil War. Some families gave more than others.
I remember. I hope to instill this pride to my nieces and nephews and now my great-nieces and nephews.
There are no guarantees in life and war. There are no guarantees in death. Remember our dead and know that this sacrifice was to allow the Great Experiment to continue– freedom and justice.
I have lost several things in my life – my innocence too early, my grandparents, my personal possessions, my faith. I have lost pets and cried as I laid them to rest. I have lost my great-grandmother, whom I am most like according to my father.
I have gone to several foreign countries, heck I was born in Canada, and left pieces of me and my possessions there. But, the hardest thing I have ever lost in my entire life was my hubby shown in this picture.
As I reflect on last year, I sometimes wonder if I could have saved him. He told one of my brothers that if he could have been just a little stronger, a little braver, maybe he would have beat the cancer and been there for me.
There was nothing we could do. I remember sitting in the hospital, hovering over him, holding his hand as he explained to me that he could feel his life force bleeding away from him. He said, “I can’t crack this nut, Cyn.”
The doctors and nurses kept telling me that if I could get him to eat that they would start cancer treatment. I had thought up to that point that they would give him cancer treatment in the hospital. I was wrong. A week in the hospital and he was too weak to continue. I don’t even think his digestive system was working well.
Of all the people I dealt with during his death, Otto was the most honorable. I know that I became angry at one point. I think I quit eating to pressure him to eat. It was too late. He couldn’t eat. He thought he was eating. It was over except for the grieving.
I fought to the end. He fought as much as he could against his body. We didn’t get much help from the medical establishment. They were more interested in a DNR than getting him well. I even had nurses tell me that I was keeping him in this world against his will.
There were two things he told me at the end – “Time to Rest,” and “I want you to be happy.”
I have had some happy moments. I watch Foxy run down the stairs with her tail going a hundred miles an hour. I watch the hummingbirds buzz around the trees. I sit in the cemetery and listen to the planes fly over. Sometimes I feel peace.
I’ll leave you with Elizabeth Bishop and her poem One Art. It’s still copyrighted so here is the link. She wrote this poem in memory of the loss of a child.
The main story in my family for years was my Grandpa’s stories about his Navy time during WWII. He was in one of the converted aircraft carriers that were sunk in the Battle of Leyte Gulf.
According to his story, his best friend was in the radio room when one of the missiles struck the side of the ship and went through the radio room.
My grandfather was a radar operator and technician. At the time radar was a secret weapon.
My grandfather was delivering a message so he wasn’t in the radio room, but his friend was killed. They spent three days in the ocean waiting for rescue on very small rescue floats. They were not like boats because the sailors sat on the edge with their feet inside the boat. They had shark watch and would hit the sharks on the nose with paddles. They lost several people in the water from wounds and dehydration.
Both my father and I served in the US Navy. He was in at the end of the Korean War. I was in during the Gulf War and Operation Just Cause. I was also in Panama a few months after Just Cause so I have seen a war-torn country during a rebuilding.
Because of my grandpa’s stories, I have respect for all those who have fought and died for our country. I was appalled at the flag-burning in my youth and I would be appalled now with abuse of the flag. Not because I worship the flag– what an idiot idea… but because of what the flag represents– freedom. Freedom is one of the main themes of my life. I know that not everyone wants or even desires to be free. I just want to give the option to those who want it.
So thanks to those that died to make this country free from the Revolutionary War to today. Thanks.