Friday, May 13, 2011

Thoughts of a Patriot

I wrote this while I was in DC for training last week and finally inserted the pictures.  Beware, it's a little scattered.

Today I feel like the luckiest little American east of the Mississippi. Here I am in the nation's capital after just eating at what I dare say is the best Italian restaurant in the country, Filomena's in Georgetown. I was able to sightsee for an hour or so after work. I'm almost halfway done with a pregnancy I was doubting I'd ever have. My husband and I both have jobs. I've never had head lice or bed bugs (and based on the check I did of my current hotel mattress, I think I'll probably keep that streak alive for at least another week). It looks like we're just a few thousand dollars worth of haggling away from selling our house...fingers crossed.

And to top if all off, I saw a double rainbow perfectly framed over the Washington Monument today. Just so you don't think I'm making it all up:

What a week to be in our nation's capital! We had just arrived at our hotel in the heart of DC late Sunday night when Brent texted that I should turn on the news. Like many of you, I reLly couldn't believe it. The War on Terror has gone on for so long and has so many complicated issues and enemies that I had honestly forgotten that we were still looking for bin Laden after ten years.

While bin Laden's death provides us with what seems to be some closure to 9/11 (will that ever really have closure?), it's not time to collaborate with Toby Keith on our next guns-ablazin' song just yet. The War on Terror is an ideological battle that will never be won. Thousands of troops fight daily in a land where friends and enemies are often indistinguishable. Plots to kill and destroy what we hold dear are being planned as you read this. The distinction between the pre-9/11 and post-9/11 world will always be a line drawn in the sand, until the last generation of those alive on the clear, beautiful morning of September 11, 2001 is gone. As a high school student during the Columbine massacre, there will always be a pre-Columbine and post-Columbine world for me, too. Our challenge is to not let ourselves be boxed in by these tragedies and to live and love just as we would have before our innocence crumbled into the Twin Towers. We cant live in fear and we cant let cautiousness stop us from loving our neighbor. Easier said than done.

Today I was able to visit the World War II and Vietnam War memorials after work. Erected in 2004, the WWII memorial is new enough that I've never been and it was something that I was dying to see. Have you been to the Vietnam Wall? I don't remember much about our family trip to DC when I was 11 or 12 other than being HOT at Gettysburg, but I do remember my dad walking along that wall and finding his buddies. I remember the somberness that everyone had at that wall.  That's when I knew - the veteran is someone we honor, and we hold their sacrifice as a sacred gift. Doesn't the sheer volume of names on sheet after number sheet of black granite just overwhelm you? I walked slowly looking at name after name after name for a bit, but then, since it was fixin' to storm and I had to pee (please read in your best Forrest Gump voice in honor of his visit to the White House, again, and the 15 Dr. Peppers he drank that day), I hurried my weenie Generation Y behind out of there before my BlackBerry got wet.

I took this photo at the WWII memorial, and I think it best describes how I want my America to be. I want my Granny Ruth's America, where she and farmwives all over the country dug dep and figured out how to make it during the darkest years of the Great Depression, selling a chicken a day for income to supplement what they couldn't grow and make themselves. I want Grandpa Pillers' America, where a smart, ambitious kid from Sparta, Illinois can make a name for himself, climbing the corporate ladder with only a high school education, a lot of drive, and common sense.

Maybe it's the Employee Relations class I've been taking all week where I've been learning about all the defenses an employee will use against you in court for making them just do their jobs, but I don't like the America I see today.

I have a dream, blog readers. I have a dream that all Americans will take personal responsiblity for their actions and realize that sometimes, it might JUST be their own fault.

I dream of an America where we aren't always concerned with "getting mine" and we let others with only one item go ahead of our huge cart of groceries at the store when the express lane is closed.

I dream of an America where we learn how to live within our means and can balance our own checkbooks, as well as the nation's.

I dream of an America where we extend basic common courtesies to our neighbors. Please, thank you, and bless you will never go out of style.

I dream of an America where we aren't afraid of handwork, sacrifice, and taking one for the team.

Despite our shortcomings, I know with all that's in me that Americans are tough. And as you know, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. I am 100% confident that we will dig deep and pull ourselves together, when and if that's needed.  We just haven't had to do it in so long.  The tricky part will just be getting us off Facebook and out of the mall long enough to realize something's going on that needs our attention.

See, I told you this would be scattered.

Editor's Note: Mom asked if I took this post down because I had second thoughts about.  Hell to the no.  Someone needs to say it.  It was Blogger acting funny, not me.  Brent asked if I am running for office.  The answer to that is also no - I would never win. 



Dad said...

You make me very proud.

Kim Jewell said...

I think this blog post is so well written about what America should be. I also remember my father taking me to the Vietnam memorial when I was 12 and finding all of the people he knew from his time there. I would love to see the WWII memorial and wish I could have taken my grandfather before he died this year. I share your dream for our America and hopefully we can pass that on to the little ones that we will both be giving birth to (a couple of weeks apart).