On the Eve of Independence Day

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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:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation
under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

 

Jukebox Hero

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On the matter of gifts.

Some of us have been given a wide variety of gifts. You might say we are blessed. In my case I was singing since I was a young child. I had sisters who were better performers, but I had one of the highest sweetest voices in my elementary school.

Still my parents told me at a young age that my talent was music appreciation rather than singing. I believed them. Even when I went to college and worked hard to get a degree in music, in the back of my mind there was a voice saying that I wasn’t good enough. I just wasn’t quite good enough. So I turned my back on music and used other gifts of intelligence and memory.

What I have learned in a very hard way is that if you don’t use a gift, then you will eventually lose it. I might lose my voice or at least my singing voice. But, I would rather live than die, which seems to be the way all my decisions go lately. So I will have the surgery and I will let my throat and voice heal.

A year or so ago I decided to join a choir. Because I could read music, I was put in the alto section as a high alto. My voice was rusty because it had been so long since I had reached the high notes. Starting as an alto was fun and reminded my voice that it could soar. I didn’t understand why my partner was so excited. She kept telling the choir manager, who was two seats away from me that they needed to keep me. Then before I started this search into why I was feeling so ill, my voice began to croak at inconvenient times.

What I didn’t know was the croaking was a symptom of a thyroid problem.

Believe me I had no idea that my voice was had that clear quality that pleased other ears. I am over fifty and I could still hear my father say that my voice would never amount to anything so I needed to be grateful that I had an ear for music.

I have other gifts I have developed. I used to be quite intelligent. I am not bragging. It is just another gift like being able to draw or write. I do envy people who have the talent of organization or leadership. It has been quite a shock to find out that my native intelligence is contingent on the healthiness of my body. When I am on certain chemicals to keep my body from relapsing, I lose much of that intelligence. The body is quite a marvelous piece of engineering.

I have always been a poet, but I didn’t start developing my gifts in writing until I went to college the second time. This time I went into English Literature with a minor in German History. Every semester I would end up writing two term papers for each class and various writing projects. It was academic writing. The sheer volume of writing made me grow and learn.

I admit that Creative Writing is a different beast altogether. When I decided to move from poetry to short stories and novels, I didn’t realize that I was going through a new apprenticeship. I have to admit it has been fun and continues to be a learning experience.

If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Singing is the one talent that I haven’t been able to use. Now I am facing the end of it. As a teenager, I desired to sing. It was a burning in my chest and throat. Everything around me was sound and I loved it. Even with the crippling stage fright that now I know was generated by my parents, I wanted to sing.

In my mind I see myself in a long red dress in front of a small intimate jazz band. I sing the blues. Maybe in another dimension and another time–another me sings.