Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Memorial Day, Patriotism, And All That

I am not patriotic. I will cheer when my country does the right thing, and jeer when my country does wrong.

On Memorial Day I am not posting any memes or graphics or sayings praising all veterans for "keeping me safe" or for their "sacrifice". 

In my heart I have three memorial days:

1. I praise anyone who fought and died actually protecting America's freedom:
The American Revolution
The War of 1812
The Civil War union side. Confederates can suck it.
Philippine-American War

2. There is a spot in my heart for those who were conscripted, then forced to fight and die for bad foreign policy decisions:
Mexican-American War
Indian Wars
Spanish-American War
Korean Police Action
Vietnam War

3.After 1973, we have had an all-volunteer military. And  none of the actions the government has committed troops to have safeguarded my freedom. In the case of Iraq and Afghanistan, just the opposite. I don't mourn the soldiers who volunteered to blindly follow orders and were killed in the process.

Emotionally, though, I am an American. Let me tell you a short story.

In 1977, I had been working in southern Thailand for about a year, at a Thai agricultural research center in the middle of a forest of rubber trees. For the first couple of months there was a group of scientists and administrators from the UN, but no Americans other than myself. I lived on campus, ate and partied with my co-workers, and had almost no contact with anything Officially American. I had some business at the US consulate in Songkhla, a few miles from the research center, and the bus only went as far as the center of town. There was a hill between me and the consulate. As I walked up the road and started to crest the hill, I saw the huge American flag flying above the consulate. In that moment, it felt like I was home.
Tags: peace corps, philosophy, politics

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