Last week, I received an e-mail from my daughter, Kristin, who manages a medical clinic in North Carolina. Most of what that dear girl sends me is fun and games, but every once in a while she smacks me alongside the head with a dose of reality and something to think about. To whit:
Three startling photographs of the largest re-enlistment ceremony ever held on the 4th of July, 2008 at Al Faw Palace, Baghdad, Iraq, with General David Petraeus officiating. This outstanding event was - as far as I can find out - ash-canned by our main-stream media. Even Jim Lehrer (may have) missed it, and that's a surprise. Makes me wonder why... Is there someone "out there" censoring our news...?
I have two USAF sons who are F-16 drivers, and have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of them on the UN "peace-keeping" assignments in Bosnia. At present, my oldest son, a Colonel in the USAF, is serving in Turkey, and his brother is a USAF Reserve Group commander in Florida.
I mention this as I want you good people to know that I'm as red, white and blue as you are and I fly the flag of The United States of America in front of my home in respect, gratitude and thankfulness for the country I call home - albeit, at half-mast when we lose another son or daughter to President Bush's so called, "War on Terrorism," which I choose to believe began as a "war for cheap oil..."
In spite of the terrible mistakes this administration has made, and because I am grateful to be living in (what's left of) this Great Country, I've got to wave the flag. For the last week I've been roaming around Florida's eastern seaboard with my son, Lt. Col Ross Anderson.
In our travels, we've seen some very impressive countryside, most of which is blessed with signs of a (somewhat) healthy environment, hundreds of species of birds and butterflies and millions of good people. We ended our extended tour of this part of Florida with a daylong visit to the Kennedy Space Center - which, if we did it all - would have taken us two more days.
Every time I turned around, I saw more and more wildlife mingled with the wonderful history of our efforts in achieving President Kennedy's mission to place a man on the Moon, and the drive of Homo sapiens, especially Americans, to make a positive mark for Humanity.
If you stop at the Kennedy Space Center. Be ready to spend two days if you want to take it all in- it will take that long, especially if you go birding while you're there. And I ask you... how could you not bird in Florida?
Two very emotional things got me at the space center. The first was the mirror wall erected in memory of those who devoted everything to their dreams of taking man into space. Like anyone who reveres life, I too felt tears on my cheeks as I read the names of those beautiful human beings who died in pursuit of a dream that they believed would help all Mankind.
Like the Viet Nam Memorial in Washington DC, I felt it would not be appropriate for me to turn my back on the names of those who sacrificed their lives, and as I walked backwards, the reflection of Our Flag slowly covered the names of three of our Nation's finest heroes, Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White, II and Roger B. Chaffee - who gave their all.
Saturn V display also got to me and NASA public educators did that one so right it will also bring tears to your eyes, no matter what political party you belong to. From the moment you walk through the introductory foyer of the exhibit, and then into the gigantic building holding the 363-ft-long Saturn V and look at the technology it took to fly that incredible rocket, you can't help but be impressed with what the mind of Man can achieve.
As I was standing there in awe, a woman next to me exclaimed, "I am so proud to be an American!" And my skin crawled...
"Pride, Greed and Power," are three of the scariest forces on our Earth.
One my heroes, C.S. Lewis, said, "Pride is spiritual cancer; it eats up the very possibility of love or contentment or even common sense." I do not like to use or hear the term, "Pride," as I believe it is overdone by too many Americans, plus there is something both Biblical and philosophical about the negative aspects of "pride" that scares me half-to-death.
When I hear and observe my fellow Americans throwing out their chests and bleating, "I'm proud to be an American!" it gives me the creeps.
And I also believe that C.S. Lewis pin-pointed what is wrong with Americas today, especially our present financial crises, when he said, "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man. Greed may drive men into competition if there is not enough to go around; but the proud man, even when he has got more than he can possibly want, will try to get still more just to assert his power."
The good old US of A is a great and awesome nation, but until we can control Pride, Greed and Power, we will never achieve the glorious moments for mankind when we achieved President Kennedy's mission to walk on the moon.
Think before you vote in November, oh, best beloved, hopefully, it will be your chance to bring change and respect and stability back into our lives, and we can wave the Flag with thankfullness.