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Would they recognize the country they fought for?

By Walter Geiger With Veterans Day on the near horizon, I started thinking about Laura’s grandfather, Maj. Oliver Quimby Melton, and the other veterans of World War I. Major Melton was a bona fide hero, having received a battlefield promotion after being one of the few officers to survive the slaughter in the Argonne Forest. There were many like him. Many of them died. There are no surviving World War I vets left in the world. The last surviving American, Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in West Virginia on Feb. 27, 2011 at the age of 110. All these men thought they were fighting the war to end all wars. They were wrong. Many, including Buckles, went back to fight in World War II. Many others, including Maj. Melton, sent their sons to fight and die for their country in the second great war. These men fought and died for a country they held dear but would they recognize that country today? I wonder. What would they think of an America that not only accepts but encourages the marriage of same sex couples? Would they condone coaches and players being reprimanded or even fired for praying at a high school football game? What would they think about participation trophies? Expecting awards and accolades for just showing up was not their style. I don’t think they could ever have imagined a nation where police officers were a requirement in public schools. They came from an era in which teachers, coaches and principals were armed with paddles and took seriously the adage ‘˜spare the rod, spoil the child’. If they earned a beating at school, they got another beating – not sympathy or headlines­ when they got home. Would they agree with the way we handle foreign aid? Probably not. The current set-up would have allowed payments of American tax dollars to Germany while they were fighting that country’s soldiers. Can you imagine, having fought their way across heavily fortified borders, what they would think about the current border with Mexico where immigration control is given only lip service. People come and go as they please without any fear of retribution. When they get here, they get public assistance courtesy of the American taxpayer. Perhaps, more than anything, I think these proud men would be astonished by America’s cradle-to-grave public assistance policies. Generations of Americans have received public assistance in all its various forms for their entire lives with little or no requirement that they ever find employment and fend for themselves. So, when Veterans Day rolls around, pay your respects to our living vets. Fly your flags, wear your lapel pins and thank a survivor. Take time to mourn those who have passed on. Grieve for them and the America they loved. It is just as dead as they are.

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