Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Confederacy and Vietnam Veterans

“American by Birth, Southern by the Grace of God”

I have no idea of the origin of the above saying, it has been around for a very long time and likely adapted from some other saying. But, it pretty much sums up the deep feelings of many Americans born and raised in the Southern States of America.

It also is a target of much ridicule from many Americans born and raised in the Northern States who simply do not understand the attitudes and feelings of those many Southerners with their attachment to their birthplace.

Nowhere can this be better seen than in the last few days as following the murder of nine innocent people at a Church in Charleston South Carolina and the focus being placed on a small flag representing the Confederacy in many people’s minds.

Forgotten are the nine victims and the nutcase racist that murdered them as outrage has snowballed into demands for all symbols seen to represent the Confederacy be removed or placed in museums, likely to be followed in years ahead to even be removed from the museums as well.

Questions are now asked if Military Bases named after Confederate Generals should be renamed, a lake in Minnesota named after a Confederate General be renamed, monuments to Thomas Jefferson, one of our founders and a former president, taken down and removed since he at one time owned slaves.

Even here locally we see calls from the local chapter of the NAACP for Confederate flags flying on private property in Ridgefield to be taken down and some citizens even suggest the county intercede to remove them or go forcibly remove the flags themselves, ignoring that people have rights to their private property. Or at least they used to.

There is even scorn now being heaped on the classic 1939 movie Gone With the Wind. Will the hysteria soon call for burning of classic novels like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?” Or “To Kill A Mockingbird?”

Honestly, in all of my 66 years I have never seen such a rapid lynch mob mentality by people in this country over a piece of cloth, while they ignore the growing threat of groups like ISIS beheading and slaughtering people by the hundreds because of their religion.

Ignored as well is that the flag being hated on was not an official flag of the Confederacy, but a Battle Flag that never flew over slavery and that many Black people today honor that flag due to their ancestors fighting on the side of the Confederacy.

It is history that is being revised and used as tool to deny a large portion of Americans their heritage, moving us dangerously close to a one-thought mindset, if approved by some ruling committee.

By now I am sure you are wondering why I included Vietnam Veterans in the title of this post, so I will clarify that.

As a native Southerner and a Vietnam Veteran as well, I have faced scorn for being both. Some look down upon me as some dumb backwoods hick and as is well known, returning from our deployments in Vietnam long ago, many faced scorn and derision for that as well.

While we today see images posted by those spreading this hate of all things Southern, we see the following.

We have also seen many calls over the years from some of the same people of what losers we Vietnam Veterans are or that we “lost the war,” ignoring that we never lost a battle in Vietnam.

We Vietnam Veterans are proud of our service then, even though the government pulled us out. As Southerners, we’re proud of our ancestors’ service then to free themselves from the choke of the North and at the same time, we condemn the slavery aspect of the war, even though it was not the top issue, as so-called “modern historians” would have you believe.

In many ways, whether from the North or the South, those of us that served and lost buddies in Vietnam are somewhat like the Confederate Soldiers of long ago and like to show pride in our service.

But, following all of the calls to wipe out any pride in Southern Heritage this week, will one day descendants of the Vietnamese that have migrated to America being expressing offense at Vietnam Veterans showing pride in our service?

Will one day history books be purged of General Westmoreland, General Abrams or even accounts of Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon be “sanitized” so as not to offend someone?

And what of those that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in the War on Terror as once we seem to be prepared to throw in the towel?

Will they eventually be labeled losers as ISIS takes over and the Taliban retakes Afghanistan?

I really do understand that some people can be offended by a small flag, but isn’t everybody offended by something at some time?

Does only one group of people get to be entitled for their feelings to never be hurt?

Yes, it is popular this week to pile on any and every thing pertaining to the Confederacy, but what will it be next week?

Will these same people demand the American flag be moved to a museum because a hate group like the Ku Klux Klan highjacked it and flew it for several years prior to highjacking the Confederate Battle flag?

And where is the ACLU that boasts of taking a controversial stand for free speech by forcing Holocaust Survivors in the town of Skokie, Illinois to endure a Neo-Nazi rally years ago?

Why so silent now? Does free speech and freedom of expression no longer matter? Did it somehow go out of style?

This hysteria has gotten out of hand and if it continues, I really fear a backlash as well as complete loss of our freedoms in what is supposed to be “the Land of Free and the Brave.”

The time to think about this and leave this lynch mob mentality behind is now!

No comments: