Finding Controversy Where There Isn’t Any

“How dare Google not have the American flag on Memorial Day?” , I saw on Facebook. I didn’t consider that. I went to my Google homepage and I saw a screen that was plain, in the colors of mourning, with a link to listen to Taps, a song that sends a chill down any American’s spine. I remember listening to my son practice it on his trumpet as he was being groomed to be the person to play it at the parade when he was old enough. I would have been so proud to say that was my son playing that song in honor of those we have lost. (He ended up quitting band upon entering high school, due to the band director being disapproving of those people who wanted to do both band and sports.) I found nothing offensive; in fact, the opposite was true. I appreciated the simplicity, the focus on the mourning of these men and women who fought for our rights to be offended at whatever we wanted to be. I thought the somber simplicity was the perfect approach. The day is about those who we have lost. It isn’t about arguing about patriotism or being outraged.

I don’t need to see an American flag everywhere to know someone loves their country. I don’t have a flag on my lawn, doesn’t mean I don’t love my country. People equate a symbol, the flag, and boast it as if it’s the only way to show your patriotism. We’re not supposed to honor symbols; we’re supposed to honor the spirit. Yes, I do believe in saying the pledge. Yes, I do believe you don’t talk during the anthem and you show your respect as you would if you were praying. I don’t need to wear the flag to show my love for those who are serving, have served, and sacrificed it all for us. I believe in showing respect to our soldiers when we see them in public, with my sons saying “Thank you” or saluting them. It’s the little acts, not the grand gestures. I believe that you show your patriotism fighting for those who can’t whenever you can. I believe that you show your patriotism by giving thanks to those who chose to fight so that you didn’t have to.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. I repeat, in bold this time: This doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in the flag. This is a symbol of our country, this is something to be revered. I just mean to point out that the most important thing, the thing that we are actually fighting for, is the American spirit. The spirit of not being told to sit down and take it. The spirit of fighting for our beliefs, for justice, for peace. The American flag is a symbol of the American spirit; not a replacement for it.

This need to be outraged about everything has gotten crazy. Some people on the far-right insist that it’s only the “snowflake libtards” that get outraged over nothing, when it’s both sides that want to make everything “a thing”. I recently joined groups for my community because I wanted to see about our local politicians. I wanted to see how us citizens could inspire change. Instead, I see dumpster fire level outrage over nothing. I see people flaming each other for nothing. I see the worst in humanity when really, I just wanted to see how these people wanted to help our communities. Instead, it’s all fake outrage. It’s finding controversy where there isn’t any. Apparently this is the new American way.

I don’t believe in searching out controversy. I don’t believe in following those who do. I believe the politicians and the media want us to be outraged at whatever they tell us to, in part, just because they can do it and no one will question it. I question it. I wonder why they are making a mountain out of a molehill. I believe in getting back to the true American spirit.

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Remember Those We Lost

Typically today would be a post where I would talk about something gaming related, generally Overwatch League related as the season is still going on. That has been switched to tomorrow, because it is Memorial Day. A day where we remember those people and their families who made the ultimate sacrifice. That’s important to remember. We wouldn’t have the freedoms that we have, like getting drunk at some BBQ or swimming around enjoying a day off if it weren’t for those people willing to risk everything for the love of their country.

Women lose their husbands. Husbands lose their wives. Parents lose their children and children lose a parent. A person made the selfless decision to enlist because they want to make the world a safer place. Because they want to make their country a safer place. In what seems like forever, a person gets the notification that they knew was possible and dreaded but hoped they would never get. They have to tell their children. They have to figure out what happens next. They need to figure out how to be okay with the new normal.

For those families, there is a void that can never be replaced as there is with any other death in the family. Memorials can be placed in their honor, but that doesn’t take away the ache of missing their loved one. There may be guilt that you let them join. There may be pride that they fought valiantly. There may be anger, because there was no reason to be in the war to begin with in your mind. There are so many different emotions that it may take years, even decades, to sort through everything.

Today as you enjoy your party, remember that someone died for that. Remember the sacrifice people made and are willing to make for you, even if they never met you. Remember that there are troops currently all over the world who are in danger, but go on anyways because they feel that it is their duty. Remember that there is a family who hasn’t heard anything from their loved ones in a while and are terrified that the notification is coming. Today isn’t about you; it is about those our country lost trying to protect us. It is about their families who are mourning not just this day, but every day. Remember that today is about remembering those brave souls we lost.

The Praises and the Woes

Monday was Memorial Day, the day that was meant to celebrate the troops for everything they do for us. Some have sacrificed their lives, and I felt that doing a blog post on that day would be a disservice, mostly because no words can truly be said for these men and women who are selflessly protecting America and their ideals even when it seems America doesn’t do enough to thank them. Remember every time you complain about “what a poop-hole America has become” because they allow you that freedom by fighting for us. Complain less, and thank more people. And don’t forget about the families that sit around worrying about their loved ones who are defending America, they will always remember their fallen more than we will and that’s absolutely horrible.

I didn’t intend for this post to be entirely dedicated to Memorial Day, especially considering it was 2 days ago. The nature of the beast while writing though, at least for me, is to go with what I feel like writing about. As I read that last sentence of that last paragraph, I felt compelled to continue anyways. We don’t have a death toll up that tells us how many people have died in Afghanistan and Iraq like we have the debt toll clock. Why would that be more important to us? There are people dying for us, and we should be reminded daily of it because they deserve not to be forgotten. The sad truth is I was right with the statement about how easily we forget. My friend’s brother died in Iraq, and while I know about it, it only pops in my head a few times a year when I sit and think about people who have fought for our country. My friend probably thinks about it more than once or twice a day. That makes me feel horrible to admit, but it doesn’t take away the truth of that statement.

They deserve better. I don’t know how many times I can say that, but it needs to be repeated often. Our troops lose pieces of themselves, physically and mentally, because they wanted to be a part of a bigger plan in life. They lose limbs, families, their lives, and in a lot of cases, their minds. And we support them once a year with an hour-long parade of high school bands that sound terrible and hideous floats and ditzy blonde local beauty pageant winners.  That doesn’t seem like a fair trade-off to me. I’ve had family serve our country, and thankfully returned safely. There are a lot of people who aren’t as lucky. They deserve better.

My son always salutes a person he sees in uniform. He said it shows them respect and that we are thankful to them. That’s what they need. They need us to show gratitude when we can, not because of a holiday people get off of work. They don’t get the day off to have BBQ with their families or to get insanely drunk with friends. Maybe more people need to be like my son and show them respect whenever they see them or help the ones that are home that need our help since they dedicated so much to help us. Remember that next time you complain about paying taxes or how terrible things are going with the government. We have troops that are fighting for our right to complain and to be free. /endsoapboxrant