Thursday, June 5, 2008

We lost a hero, today

Today, we lost a patriot. Jack Lucas was 13 years old when he forged his mother's signature and joined the US Marines just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Soon after, he found himself on the shores of Iwo Jima, where he threw his body on two Japanese-lobbed grenades to save the lives of his comrades. At age 17, he was the youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor for his courage and bravey from the battle on the shores of Iwo Jima. He lost his battle today, to leukemia. We lost a hero and a patriot.

It's not just the fact that he did the unthinkable (his willingness to die for his comrades) that places a lump in my throat. It's also the fact that there was something that drove this man at age thirteen to want to fight for his country so badly. My son is thirteen years old, and I don't think he is any more or less of a patriot than I am, or Jack Lucas, for that matter. But, I wonder if he, or I would honestly be willing to bear arms for our country, if push came to shove? If a battle was fought on our soil, would you allow your 13-year old son to pick up a weapon to help protect this country? I can speak only for myself, and I would bear arms for my family at a moment's notice. But does it make me less of a patriot because I choose not to join in the military? My husband has been an active duty Air Force officer for 15 years. He loves serving his country. He finds purpose in protecting everything we hold dear and the freedom we enjoy. He would willingly sacrifice his life for this country, without reservation.

So, again, does it make me less of a patriot, because I am not in the military nor have any inclination to want to serve in that capacity?

What are your thoughts on this? What do you think makes a patriot? When you stand up and place your hand over your heart as the national anthem is played, or when the colors are posted in a room, do you still get gooesbumps, like I do? Living on military bases, I've have passed Old Glory at sunrise and when she is retired at sun-down. I can't explain the emotions I have inside, but the flag is definitely a constant reminder of how fortunate I am for the freedoms I enjoy. Please share with me, as we approach the anniversary of the United States' independence your thoughts on patriotism, and what it means to you.


Sue McGettigan said...

I think a patriot is someone who loves their country. For some that means a career in the military, but for others it means keeping the home fires burning by being responsible members of society - voting, legislating, teaching, nursing, doctors, politicians in office or in the opposition, janitors, police officers, fire fighters, working in a store or service organization, raising children with love and care - patriots do all of those things and more. I think military service represents only a tiny slice of patriots. Personally I'm a pacifist, but I'm still a patriot, I want what's best for my country at all times, and that doesn't always mean toeing the party line. I have a button that reads 'dissent is patriotic' and I do think that's true, that's why we need democracy, to keep everyone honest :) One of my brothers served in the military, one of my cousins still does and is in Iraq currently, one of my DH's cousins served there as a medic, me, I just want to see everyone come home safe. I'd love to see Iraq have a true democracy, but perhaps that is something that we can't achieve by our military presence there... Long post - sorry about that. As it happens, I support the military overseas with handcrafted cards and packages, because I think if you're serving your country you deserve support. It's so complicated! Good question Ethel :)

Mary said...

Yes, I get goosebumps too, especially when our National Anthem is sung. Like you Ethel, it's not "in me" to bear arms, but that doesn't mean I don't love this country and the freedom's I enjoy or that I'm not grateful to those that do serve in our military. I am so proud and respectful of our soldiers and the families that stay behind while they are off fighting. (or here guarding) I think that God has a purpose for everyone and that he instills different desires in each of us. Just because some of us don't desire to bear arms doesn't mean that we're not supporting our soldiers and family members and our nation. I think however, if it came down to there being a war right here in the states and my family, property, etc was being threatened, I would be more inclined to pick up whatever I needed to defend those things. I have to agree with Sue that we as Americans need to due our civic duties and be a positive aspect in this country. Thanks for the opportunity to express our opinions, and please let your husand know that he is appreciated. Thank you for being a military wife as well.


Sandy said...

Hi Ethel! I finally did post on my blog. It sorta went on a bunny trail instead of where I had intended, but...there ya have it. lol.

What does it mean

julie F said...

Hi Ethel
I'm from Scotland - and although we don't use the word patriot, I have the same feelings about Scotland and the UK. I agree with you I would easily bear arms if my family or nation was in danger, and just because I don't join the military does not make me any less patriotic. I think all the fighting men and woman are far braver than I. They lay down there lives without a thought, and we should be truly honored that they do. The world is safer because of those fighting men and woman, but we are just a patriotic when we love our country ( whichever one it maybe), we try and bring our children up as responsible individuals, and that we have respect for each other. I love Scotland and all that she represents....I am honored to be a Scot with a fine and interesting history, people and places I can be proud off. If only all of society felt the same.... !

Julie Oh and our national anthem the Flower of Scotland always makes me shiver with emotions!