Patriotism is as much a virtue as justice, and is as necessary for the support of societies as natural affection is for the support of families. ~~ Benjamin Rush, Letter to His Fellow Contrymen: On Patriotism, October 20, 1773
As a writer I tend to spread my thoughts around. From notes to myself, emails to others, to Facebook posts and my own personal history (to be shared with my family) and to this blog to be shared with the world.
What follows is a compilation of all those things I think about when I think of patriotism and my love for country and the awful necessity of war.
A little of it may have already been shared here, but things of such weighty measure are often worth repeating.
Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th president once said:
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.
It’s one of my favorite quotes and I’ve referred to it in this blog before.
Teddy’s distant cousin and our 32nd president Franklin Roosevelt was many things to many people. Some, who lived in Roosevelt’s time, and especially those who thought themselves benefactors of his policies, loved and adored him. For many, he was the only president they ever knew. He’d been elected to an unprecedented four terms and served for 12 years before his death. Today is the anniversary of his birth.
I recently came across something on the Internet and thought it an interesting idea. It can be found in various forms, not many different from the others though. I’m sorry to say it comes with no mention of its original author. It is often seen without a title. I have given it one and have rewritten it.
I’ve changed the order of things. I’ve changed the wording, I’ve added a lot and taken away a little. It is my version and from what I’ve seen, I think it’s the best.
I share it here.
As is far too often the case, I’ve been a bit remiss in writing in my blog. This will be only my 8th post for the entire year. Despite all my best intentions, what can I say? It happens! Just know, like any good friend, I haven’t forgotten you.
There are always the, what in my life are, “normal” distractions. Here are just a few, listed in no particular order:
Our national politics has become unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes. It seems the gap between opposing viewpoints may be at its widest. It’s the one thing we all can agree on.
With the coming of social media — and specifically Facebook — people who were once friends are no longer. How silly, how short-sided. How pathetic!
Thomas Jefferson had it right.
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend. ~~ Thomas Jefferson
I’m often reminded the terrible price my family has paid because of alcoholism and substance abuse. It’s the primary reason I’ve never been one to drink or to “get high.” As mentioned in these pages* before, I tried marijuana as a teenager. Just like president Bill Clinton, “I didn’t like it, and didn’t inhale, and never tried it again.” While there were few who did, I believed Bill Clinton. Believe me.
When it comes to alcohol, I admit it… I tried that once as well. I was 19- years old and a new Airman at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I’m not sure why, but I think it was to just see what it would feel like. So — young and stupid — one evening I drank a tall glass of Bacardi Rum. Beyond the silliness and fog of that night, I paid the awful and memorable price the next morning. I learned what it felt like.
A teacher affects eternity. You can never tell where their influence ends.
~~ Epictetus ~~
I’ve reflected here on a few occasions my school days as a self-appointed class clown. A couple of other companions were as equally gifted in our quest for attention. Their stories have been shared here as well. It wasn’t until many years later I came to realize, the attention I sought was a misguided attempt to make up for other things lacking in my life.
I’m not proud to admit, in my pursuit to be noticed, I was especially brutal to my Jr. high school music teacher, “Miss Morgan.” In hindsight I deeply regret how I mistreated and disrespected her … all to get a cheap laugh from classmates, who did provide a few. The woman was a Saint and despite all I dished out she showed me uncompromised patience and encouragement. I didn’t realize it at the time… she really cared, but few kids notice those things.