Now [war] has come and we must meet it as united Americans regardless of our attitude in the past toward the policy our Government has followed. … Our country has been attacked by force of arms, and by force of arms we must retaliate. We must now turn every effort to building the greatest and most efficient Army, Navy and Air Force in the world.
Today is an interesting day for me. First, it’s the start of the week which sees my last race of the season take place — the Battlefrog Series World Championships. Secondly, today is the so-called “Day of Infamy” recognizing and honoring the men & women who died in the bombing at Pearl Harbor. This latter bit is personal, for me. Not because I lost family or friends in the bombing–I didn’t–but because this is something that, when I learned about it in school for the first time, I recall that first *real* sense of something that I now call patriotism. It was palpable. I cried watching the news reels. I became both angry and solemn at once and the same time. I wanted to go fight anyone who would challenge American ideals. It was a watershed moment for me.
I can’t recreate this feeling for anyone else, but I can use this sense of pride and patriotism to instill in my children the foundations of American idealism. This does not mean I politicize or even indoctrinate my children–quite the contrary. In fact, what it allows me to do is explain what I felt, and why, and help them to understand the wonders of American liberties. This isn’t meant to do anything more than help them understand who I am, and it allows them the chance to form thoughts of their own, discussing their own maturing views of America, nationalism, and patriotism.
I do like to set an example for my children by thanking men & women in uniform, chatting with veterans (usually designated by their hats), and ensuring that I’m as respectful as possible to other Americans who may not share my individual views. This last bit is something that I think is becoming a lost art. We are so polarized, so politically charged, so selfishly intolerant of anything “not ours” that we tend to denigrate, condescend, and utterly demolish someone else at a personal level instead of working to understand their view(s) while helping them to understand our own. The basis of American politics, The Constitution, as well as the Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, were written, agreed upon, and signed by men of all political views. They weren’t signed by Republicans or Democrats or Independents–they were signed by American Colonial leaders who would go on to birth Republicans AND Democrats AND Independents. Yes, I know political parties as we know them did not exist until sometime after 1789, which is my point (in part).
Let the politicians be buttheads to each other–that’s partly why we have political parties in the first place. But, do try and not be a butthead to your fellow American. Because, well, they are Americans, too!
Well, since my week will be mostly tapering my training, and then traveling for the BFSWCs, I just thought I’d share this with you. I won’t have a lot of new training materials or posts to share. Hopefully I’ll be able to share with you pictures of my Battlefrog wrist band and medal later in the week!