I was born a patriot. My green shoot flowered on December 7, 1941. Franklin Roosevelt spoke to me from the family radio with his fireside chats throughout the Second World War. My uncles were the epitome of the American citizen-soldier fighting force. We had a Blue Star flag in our window and my Grandmother and I raised The American Flag each morning. We said the Pledge of Allegiance everyday at school. Portraits of George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt were in every classroom. On Memorial Day, I put on my Boy Scout uniform and placed a small American Flag on each grave in our Veterans Memorial Cemetery.
When I became eighteen, I enlisted in the Navy and for the next twelve years I served, variously, as a reserve Seaman and active duty Medical Officer. I swore to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic. I was a representative of the United States to the British Medical Research Council, in London, for two years.
These are my USA credentials. Without apology, I love my country;It has rewarded me well, but I am concerned for its Third Century.
In my youth, the war years, almost everyone I knew and virtually all of the national news, expressed unity. Although FDR was a major news story almost constantly, no media ever published a photograph of President Roosevelt in his wheelchair even though he spent virtually all of his waking hours there. That was symbolic of the culture of respect and dignity which existed. This attitude fostered self respect and pride in our contributions. The country worked. Seemingly everyone was in service or had a family member in uniform. From 1941, over sixteen million Americans were in the military. Eighteen million women entered the defense industry. Over fifty-nine thousand nurses were on active duty. Our industry rapidly accelerated production until we had made 310,000 aircraft, 124,00 ships and 100,000 tanks and amored vehicles.
Although still suffering economic damage of The Great Depression, we tithed for our Churches and then bought “War Bonds” to help finance The War.
Now I am greatly concerned about divisions in our society. The divisions are multiple and complex. Great passions are flaming their opposition on every new vehicle of communication and tens of thousands of us are marching in the streets. Allegedly in defense of each of our individual prerogatives, we are killing each other, not for treasure, but for respect. Ironically, unlike physical treasure , of which there is a finite and limited quantity, the reservoir of respect and love is bottomless. Everyone already has these arrows in their quiver! How can our Country have lost its way? What is required?
I can hear the cries of: “naive”! as I write each word. However I challenge us to use the wisdom which has endured since the Eighth Century, B.C.
It is not complex but would it will require an enormous discipline:
“And what does The Lord require of you?: To act justly and love mercy and walk humbly with your God”