POTD: Memorial Day

Memorial Day
Bozeman, Montana
2011

A lot of my Patriot’s Dream photos, such as the one from yesterday, perhaps have been interpreted as being a bit irreverent and indicating a lack of patriotism on my part. That’s actually not the case. In fact although I don’t see the flag as anything sacred, I take at least mild offense at times when I see the way it is used in a questionable or commercial manner. I mean, to the extent that it represents our country’s ideals, is associating it with dog poop the way it out to be displayed?

Patriotism is not the cavalier and trivializing display of the flag in every conceivable context as if that symbol consecrates any mundane activity with which it is associated. I find that mindset ironic and humorous in a cynical way. I think true patriotism is the willingness to do what your country asks of you (within reason–we don’t want anyone mindlessly participating in atrocities for the “sake of country”) even when it means sacrifice, perhaps extreme, on your part.

All wars are bad, but some are more righteous or unavoidable than others. WWII takes the top of that list in my book. I just finished reading a book on the war in the Pacific during WWII that chronicled the terrible human toll that occurred during that conflict as well as the unimaginable (to my generation in this country anyway) suffering and sacrifice of those who served in our armed forces during that time.

Memorial Day started as a tribute to those soldiers who died on both sides during the Civil War but has morphed into a time of remembering of all veterans whether they died in a war or not as well as to non-veterans who have died, or to many just another day off from work or yet another meaningless excuse for a big sale at your favorite retail outlet. Because WWII is on my mind, I chose to honor on this particular Memorial Day my father and his six brothers and half-brothers who all volunteered for the Navy during WWII and who fortunately all came back from the war alive and went on to live their lives as quiet examples of what true patriotism is really about.