Proud to Be An American, Part I

The best thing about our trip to DC was, without a doubt, all of the patriotism.  And not the kind Toby Keith preaches about sticking ones boot up those other guys’ asses.  No, it was the kind pulsing through everything that city does.  The feeling that America genuinely is a pretty kick ass country- even with all its faults. 

For the past eight years there’s been a lot of moaning and groaning about how far we’ve come off track.  I hear a lot of apathy – from myself included – about how nothing is changed and things will never change.  Being in DC made me feel like anything is possible.  That the world is a good place with (mostly) good people just trying to do the right thing.

In elementary school we had to sing patriotic songs every morning before class (along with the pledge of allegiance) and I loved them.  To this day hearing “I’m Proud to Be An American” gives me chills.  That was the sense of Patriotism I felt in DC. 

The flip side of that is that there are a lot of people who just don’t give a shit.  Who don’t care about anything.  Who don’t care to respect what other people have given up to get us to this point.  At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington we listenedwhile the Marine stopped the ceremony three times to tell people – adults – to stand during the changing of the guard; to respect the fallen and not sit down.  At the WWII monument we witnessed multiple people ignore the signs (“Respect the fallen/ Do not throw coins or wade in the fountain”) and relax with their feet in the water like they were at their neighborhood park.  And my blood boiled because first of all, read the fucking sign.  But more importantly, show some respect.  There are men and women who fought and were injured and died and they deserve that respect on that monument.  Say what you want when you’re out of it and act like a child, but while you’re there just show some respect.  Yeah, they fought to retain the freedoms we all hold dear.  So burn your flag or bra in protest, march against a president and vote your conscience.  But when you’re standing on a dedication, just swallow whatever problems you have withpolitics and just respect what they did, regardless of whether you agree with it or not. 

Maybe that’s where all the apathy comes from: those people with their feet in the fountain, who wouldn’t stand at the changing of the guard, those people are my contemporaries.  And I doubt any of us would pick up arms to defend what so many people did in so many wars. 

And that’s my quick little rant about DC.  I loved it.  It was a great place to be for the 4th and I wish I had more time to soak up everything.  I still haven’t downloaded pictures, or even look through Brette’s photos to see what great pictures she managed to get.  I’m slowly getting back to the regularly scheduled program.

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