I am sitting here in the Bunker. Over on the windowsill is a folded, encased American Flag. The case also holds three of the brass casings from
my Father’s 21 Gun Salute. My Dad was a coal miner with two small children when he went into the Navy during World War II. Following the war, he returned home and back to the coal mines. He worked in those mines until his body was broken and his lungs were racked with coal dust. When he could no longer get a coal mining job, he went to work in a Chicago factory. That is all my Dad did in life, obeyed the law, served when called and worked hard. He never sought a hand out and never blamed anyone for his plight. He was a humble man always grateful for what the Good Lord provided.
In the war, nearly 420,000 Americans gave their lives fighting for freedom – not only America’s freedom but, freedom for the civilized world. I suppose that number might fill four or five modern day football stadiums give or take. My Dad never cared too much for sports, although he did talk some about listening to baseball games on the radio. While you rarely hear their stories, this great nation this Exceptional Nation is filled with people like my Father. They are the forgotten people. They do not seek special privilege. They do not riot in the streets. They hold together their families. They work hard and often struggle to make ends meet. They never give up. They enjoy American football. They fill our Armed Forces, our Police Forces, our Fire Departments and many other jobs without which civilized society fails and they do it for a pittance compared to what a pampered and catered to professional athlete earns in an afternoon even when they are sitting on the bench.
We all have a right to speak our minds. We have the right to peaceful protest. There is no right to not be offended by what someone or some group has to say – about our country or anything else. Our freedom did not come easily. If you have traveled some and lived in other countries, you know full well that there is only one Exceptional Nation on this planet that placed that freedom of speech and others into our founding documents and our Constitution. Only one. Worldwide, there is but one symbol known to all representing American freedom and Exceptionalism. Only one. And historically people from across the world have followed that symbol of freedom to this land hoping to get even a small taste of what too many of us take for granted. Even a small bit is more than they have experienced in their lives. The Americans we consider poverty stricken they view as wealthy because by world standards they are.
On Sunday, after Church while I was having lunch I switched on the kitchen television to my favorite NFL pregame program. After a couple of minutes, I switched it off refusing to be lectured by sportscasters and old football players and coaches nor did I want to hear them lecture the President who said what most of us have been thinking. Being President does not take away your freedom of speech. Maybe it’s time that we have a leader who doesn’t dance around the edges. One who speaks for the forgotten people. I didn’t watch any football yesterday. I was angry for a few minutes and that turned into sorrow. Another American institution politicized. Another icon of American culture is swirling down the drain.
You tell me that it is not your intention to show disrespect to our flag, our anthem or to any Service Person or Veteran. You are exercising your freedom of speech for social justice. Well that’s fine. I served most of my life in the military. When I want to watch sports that is all that I am interested in. So, when I turn off the fat, bald ex-quarterback (prior to yesterday I enjoyed listening to his football commentary) lecturing the President and a collection of privileged men showing contempt for my country and I stop buying your team paraphernalia I mean you no disrespect. I am merely exercising the freedom represented by the symbol and anthem you detest. I am giving my Dad the respect he deserves. For you, I predict a losing season beyond anything you imagine.
© 2017 J. D. Pendry