Two things have me thinking about patriotism. Well, ok, 3.
Last month Army Sgt. 1st Class Clarence D. McSwain, was killed in Iraq when an IED detonated near his combat vehicle. I didn't know him, I had never even heard of him.
But the article I read said that there were protesters at his funeral. At first I thought maybe they were anti-war protesters, but when I read the article, I found that there is this (thankfully, small) group that believes that God is punishing America and American soldiers, for allowing gays in the military. And now they protest at soldiers' funerals. And although they're a small group, they get around.
I won't dignify that group by mentioning its name here. But I can't express how despicable I think their whole thing is. They act as if they're working in God's name, but they clearly aren't. And then they bring their hate filled message to funerals, to families that are mourning. This was the first I had heard of this group, and it really upset me.
There is an anti-protest group called Patriot Guard Riders, motorcycle riding veterans, who go to the funerals to block the protesters from the grieving families.
I don't know what else there is to say about the protesters. They're disgusting. And I think that most Americans know that. I know I've blogged here, and you've commented here, about our thoughts on the war. I'm against the war. But I want every soldier who fights to come home safely.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Clarence D. McSwain was 31 years old. He leaves behind a wife and three children, including a five month old. This was his fifth overseas deployment in his 12-year military career. I didn't know him, but I feel like honoring his memory is maybe the only small thing I can do to counteract the cruelty of these evil people.
Then, this week, I went to baseball game. A group of four people sat one row in front of me. I'm not sure that they were a family, but they might have been. There were 2 older people, maybe mid to late 50s, the man had stringy grey hair, and the woman was wearing a cap (not a cap for either team, just a random cap.) And then there were 2 people in their 30s, a man and a woman. So, they could've been a family. I don't know. But, anyway, they didn't stand or remove their hats for the national anthem. I know, compared to picketing a soldier's funeral, it seems really small.
It reminded me of this girl that I went to school with. Her religion didn't allow her to stand for the pledge of allegiance. The other thing I remember about her is that in high school she got caught giving a teacher a blowjob. So, I'm not sure what religion that was, but anyway, she was religious and didn't stand for the pledge of allegiance.
And I remember that our teacher (not the one who got the blowjob, our 1st grade teacher) told her that it was fine if she didn't stand, but she had to sit quietly at her desk while everyone else said the pledge of allegiance.
Which is what bothered me about this little group at the ballgame. They sat and talked and ate through the national anthem. And they weren't even whispering discreetly. They were talking loudly. Almost like they were annoyed at the people all around them, singing. You don't believe in standing, fine. But I think you should at least be quiet and respectful.
And I think that if you asked a soldier or veteran, they might tell you that part of the reason why they fight is so that Americans have the freedom to not stand for the pledge of allegiance, or the national anthem, or to protest at funerals.
But I felt annoyed. Maybe because I had just read that article, and about that group. And I was surprised there is so much opposite-of-patriotism out there. For all I know, maybe these are the same group of protesters. Hey, they could take in a game in between their acts of evil, right?
I wanted to say something to them. Ask them what their deal is. But I didn't. I hoped someone else would. People in the section were all looking at them. And, it's not like they didn't know what was going on, it was a big and crowded enough stadium that they couldn't have just "missed" that everyone else was standing for the national anthem.
But I didn't say anything. Maybe I should have. I don't know. It wasn't that I wanted to tell them off, I just wanted to know their reason. And I guess I don't have a right to know their reason. And maybe it would've just bothered me more.
And the third thing is, of course, Independence Day. Wishing you a safe, happy, and Patriotic 4th of July.