The 4th is a celebration of patriotism and patriotism is defined as love of country. Why do we love, those of us who do, the United States of America? Is it freedom, liberties beyond anything this globe has ever known, opportunity, bill of rights, or constitutionally inspired government? Yes all that and much more. Freedom isn’t free! A trite platitude perhaps but true nonetheless. Another platitudinal slogan seen on Zippo’s, T-shirts, and silk-like jackets in Korea states that “For those who fight for it, freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.”
So tomorrow night at Ft. Jackson South Carolina, the largest initial entry training center on earth, the place where “Victory Starts” there will be a celebration. That celebration might include a large formation of brand new Army recruits, the band playing and fireworks all to celebrate these new patriots. So is there a difference between patriotism and patriots? It’s an easy case to make when you are discussing members of the Armed Forces in time of war or the founding fathers. But almost every year we lose the point of the 4th of July. Independence fought for and won, over and over. Our Independence was won from a stifling government headed by a stubborn King.
Ponder this. Our values as a nation have shifted over the last fifty years, since John Kennedy said “And so my fellow Americans Ask NOT what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” The Pelosi, Reid, Obama team would have chided the young President for this. Kennedy was considered far left. Now we are seeking independence from another guy who considers himself a King in Barack Hussein Obama. Appointing “Czars” of everything sacred to the left, ramming through bills like health care incredibly unpopular in the country, and spending like a drunken sailor. (No offense to Senator McCain). Back to “ASK NOT what your country can do for you” would be the correct direction and those young Soldiers at Ft.Jackson have signed a check for their lives and ASK NOT! Patriots and patriotism, which are you?
I’d like to share a story of the 4th. Twenty six years ago this week dozens of Americans were released from being held hostage by the hijackers of TWA 847. One American was not released. Those hijackers were terrorists of Hezbollah, The long story of the hijack has been chronicled in several books and movies made about that incident. On 15 June 1985 these murderous SOB.s trampled, beat to beyond recognition, and shot a US Navy serviceman to death because he was an American and proudly told them so. Bobby Stethem martyred himself for our “Independence.” I was out there in the region for that hijack and many more. I returned to my family on the 4th of July 1985 with a heavy heart and make it a point on every 4th to remember Petty Officer Stethem. Bobby didn’t make it home that 4th of July in 1985 but Praise the US Navy. If you google Robert Stethem you can get a load of the USS Stethem an Arleigh Burke class ship named in his honor. All who read this please join me in remembering this true Patriot and all those who have fought and died to maintain our Independence and all that it means.