Archive for July, 2017

243- “A legacy lost?” July 2, 2017

Monday, July 3rd, 2017

By Hetty Gray

# 243

July 2, 2017

“A legacy lost?”

In a little more than two days America pauses to honor her founding. The Fourth of July rings forth with fireworks, parades, and cookouts from coast to coast. Bunting hangs from countless balconies, fences and railings. The “red white and blue” flies proudly over homes, ranches, farms, businesses and, in some cases, vehicles.

My thoughts meander back to my childhood. Why? Because a recent survey found that 45% of those polled were not proud of their country. What would have shocked me as a teenager or new mother now just adds to the angst I feel at the apathy and lack of respect for the greatest country on the planet.

Had that survey been done on those 60 and over, the results would have been far different. It is not hard to figure that out.

Let’s roll back the clock to the 1940s. War raged across Europe and the Pacific theaters in valiant battles to dislodge and defeat tyrants, one of whom thought of himself as a god and the other whose people considered him one. Those of us in grade school were very aware of the war. Our folks had ration books and vehicle fuel was limited. The radio was our main source of entertainment and newspapers actually reported news.
Hollywood sent its stars to raise money for War Bonds. Movies reinforced patriotism and extolled the strength of our values.

Everyone got into the act. It was not unusual to see a small boy pulling a wagon in an effort to gather up metals that could be used for the war effort. Trains passing through small hamlets and urban centers were crowded with soldiers. Every American felt he or she had a part to play.

God, country and family were the strong triangle that anchored our lives. Schools taught history. Churches were packed on Sundays. Charity began at home. We saw it firsthand. Many households were absent a husband and father. Parents set children a fine example by instilling a high respect for America. Sadly, you see little of that today. It seems that criticizing America is the “in thing” among a lot of younger people.

The first songs I learned at school were the service hymns. “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli,” “Up We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder,” “The Caisson Song,” and “Anchors Aweigh” resounded in music rooms across the nation. Art classes also played a part. We made Poppy Posters. I remember drawing pictures of an army helmet hung atop a cemetery marker. Military cemeteries were lined with plain white tombstones engraved with a Christian Cross or the Jewish Star of David and — yes — The Star and Crescent. One nation under God….

We listened to our teachers explain how the war was a noble effort to free millions of people from desperate circumstances. The local National Guard unit met downtown and on a Friday night when the stores were all open, it was not unusual to see scores of young men milling around mid-evening during a break from scheduled activities.

Servicemen and women were afforded great respect. The Gold Stars that hung in windows were a grim reminder of the cost of that war. My grandparents lived along the busiest street in town. I heard many a story of how Totty would come to the curb to serve lemonade to soldiers riding in open trucks. My grandparents were good folks. They had little money, but they understood the sacrifice those soldiers would be called upon to make. Preparing those cool glasses of lemonade was their way of saying “Thank you.” I am so proud to know that story. It means a lot to me.

We are a nation founded under God. The famous painting of George Washington praying near Valley Forge says it all. He asked for guidance and protection for his ragged, freezing men in an all out effort to oust the British and bring forth a nation equals what the Bible described — repeated in Ronald Wilson Reagan’s words — a shining city on a hill. General Patton prayed before the Battle of the Bulge. He loved his men.

To keep that shining city we need to foster a new love of country in our children. Move for your local schools to reinstate those long honored service hymns to the music curricula. Carefully assess the content of history texts. Many are absent critical facts. Some are opinion pieces.

As you watch the glow and burst of the fireworks cascading in the air, take a moment to say a prayer for all those who gave their last measure of devotion.

There is a lovely series of statements that you will see on posters and proudly displayed in public. The piece speaks volumes.

The Soldier

It is the soldier not the reporter who has given freedom of the press.
It is the soldier not the poet who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier not the campus organizer who has given
us the right to demonstrate.
It is the soldier not the lawyer who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves under the flag, and whose
body is draped with the flag who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

And yes, it is that same flag that homeowners’ associations refuse members to fly in their residential areas. It is that flag that student protestors cavalierly stomp on and burn. Yes, it is that flag….

Please do what you can to instill love of country in the youngest of America’s children. Teach them hand over heart and hats off when they hear the National Anthem.

Their future depends on a strong America. Without the support of its children, that future is in jeopardy. Do not allow this legacy to be lost.

Happy Birthday America!