So, how much of an American am I? Or am I un-American?
The young Army private shown in the photograph to the right is my Dad, John Miller, pictured from when he was serving in World War II. He helped clean up the mess at Pearl Harbor, among other things in that war to end all wars. Yes, he earned his way up to the rank of Sergeant by the time his Army days were over and he went home.
This black-and-white photograph of Dad was scanned, captioned, placed neatly into a glass-enclosed triangular case … along with the folded American flag that covered his casket on the day he was buried in central Idaho in October of 1960 after he was killed in a mining accident in Wyoming. The flag was given to my mother, pregnant with me at the time, and she kept it tucked away until it was given to me last year as a precious gift for my 50th birthday.
Dad was born in Blackie, Kentucky. He and his older sister Alta didn’t really know their parents either, they both died from illness when their two children were very young. He enlisted in the Army at a young age, and hunting in the woods of the Bluegrass State and Tennessee made him a good shot. When he got out, he worked in the mines, moved West to Oregon and drove big trucks in the mountains, went over to the mountains of central Idaho and went back to the mines, met Mom and started a family.
He was a good guy, always looked for any needs that anyone had where he could pitch in and help out. I know these things because the people who knew him — relatives and friends — told me about him.
Dad was a gentle soul. He wasn’t big in stature, but his heart was large. He did love to have fun, in his own ways. He’d kid around like there was no tomorrow, but not in a mean-spirited way. When he was pushed to his limits, he’d fight back. And he could fight back.
I have no idea what his political beliefs were, and I don’t rightfully care one way or another what if any direction he leaned politically. All I know is that if he saw a need that someone had in their lives, he’d help them out the best way that he knew how. He didn’t think just about himself.
Oh, I’m sure he’d be all for people standing on their own two feet and giving life everything they had. He believed in hard work, an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s effort. He and Mom bought a small sign early in their marriage with one “long word” that was carved out in wood. The “word” on the sign said “KWITCHERBELYAKIN.” Say it fast and you’ll know the message behind it.
At the same time, if he saw someone going through a hard time and struggling to pull themselves up, he’d pitch in and help them out. If it wasn’t through physical effort, it was through financial assistance.
Mom was the same way. They made a good pair. For the record, Mom has long seemed to have leaned conservative. But the funny thing is, I know for a fact that she can’t stand conservative blowhards like Glenn Beck, and I’m sure she’d have a pretty tough time putting up with the likes of Rush Limbaugh as well if she ever had to listen to him.
I sometimes wonder what Dad would think if he could see the way we are in this country today. He might have looked at our polarized ways and shook his head, wondering what the hell he and his fellow soldiers fought for in WWII. I’m pretty sure it would sadden and anger him.
I do know one thing that would have ticked him off, brought out the fightin’ side of him. That would be seeing anyone looking at what his son had written as a free American — the right that he and so many others like him fought and died for through so many wars — and suggesting that his son had been disrespecting the memory of America’s soldiers by daring to stand up to claims that he knew were ill-informed at best, dishonest and manipulative at worst.
If it hasn’t been in the words of this blog, it’s been through things that I’ve said in the past through the black ink and off-white paper of newsprint.
Anyone is free to disagree with anything I might say. That’s the American way. I won’t shut anyone up, even when they disagree with me. If I started counting the number of times anyone’s claimed that I have tried to stop their right to speak up freely and had a dollar for every time it happened, well …
My only request is that people come armed with facts and truth and data to back up their claims. Don’t come armed just with speculation and hearsay and rumors and talking points and, dare I say it, feelings that are the result of some twisted bit of propaganda. If you want to debate me, that’s fine. That is, after all, the American way. But you’d better come prepared.
Propaganda isn’t “the American way,” whether it’s on the liberal or conservative side. Propaganda wears an evil face. Propaganda and its results are the kinds of thing we’ve fought against in wars, not the kinds of things men and women have died fighting to preserve in America.
We’re still free to say what we want in this nation. There’d just better be some semblance of truth to back up your words. And we as citizens owe it to those who’ve fought for that freedom to take on the responsibility of educating ourselves as to what the truth and the facts are if we truly want to call ourselves “patriots” these days.
And, yet, it wasn’t that long ago that I received a comment from someone here in these very web pages who questioned my loyalty to this country because I dared to post one more thing about one of the biggest propaganda machines we see in this nation today, basically saying that I was un-American.
I won’t play that same childish game myself that so many talking heads love to play while they wave the American flag over their heads so high, at least figuratively. I can wave that flag myself.
I can and do also get soldiers serving overseas right now applauding what I have to say, in their own way.
That, after all, is what those soldiers represent, among so many other things in this nation. It’s the freedom that I have to say that anyone claiming that I’m un-American is wrong, and that I don’t have the right to silence anyone for giving their own views. I respect that.
I also have the right to say that America has some serious problems facing it. We have essentially become a Third World nation. If anyone sat though any of the videos that I posted in Part 3 of this series, they’d see that for themselves.
People today live in fear that a revolution is about to take place in this country, when the more apparent truth is that it seems a revolution has already taken place. Our middle class — the backbone of this nation, which provides so much of this nation’s buying power — is dying. The middle class is being strangled to death. If we look at all the numbers that are out there in terms of the direction we are heading, from middle class to the ranks of the improverished, it screams out to us.
The numbers are in the videos that I posted in Part 3 here. Try and argue against those. Try and argue against the real life stories that are in them. That’s real life. It’s happening today, right in front of our eyes, if they are open.
That’s not what my father fought for. That’s not what millions of men and women have been wounded or killed for throughout this country’s history.
That is, unless those lives have all been wasted after all these years.
The song “Taps” will be played today in thousands of towns across America. We have to believe that the song for America for us all to rally around will be one of strength, a commitment to work together to solve our problems.
We can only hope … and pray … on this Memorial Day that better times are ahead.
Copyright 2012, Daddysangbassdude Media
- In search of America for Memorial Day – Part 1 of 4 (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)
- In search of America for Memorial Day – Part 2 of 4 (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)
- In search of America for Memorial Day – Part 3 of 4 (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)
- Veteran Upset Over Store Selling American Flag Doormats (fox2now.com)
- Taps and tears (toledoblade.com)
- Memorial Day (gailinestes.wordpress.com)
- Boy Scouts honor fallen for Memorial Day (photos.mercurynews.com)
- Flags In’ Tradition Honors Fallen Warfighters for Memorial Day (gloucestercitynews.net)
- One Reason Why “we” Wore the Uniform and Put “our” Lives on the Line (thesoulfulveteran.wordpress.com)
- Defending the Dream (nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com)
- Government Propaganda and Disinformation Is Now Considered The Truth (afteramerica.wordpress.com)