Hominy & Hash
DON'T REMIND ME!
by Constance Daley
American Reporter Correspondent
St. Simons Island, Ga.
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - We're a funny bunch. We don't like to be = reminded of things we've put behind us. We applaud Senator Kerry's war record - as indeed we should - because we don't like to be reminded of the poor display of appreciation we showed while the fighting and dying (and then coming home to derision) was happening. Over the years we've managed to hide our shame.
So, when we see the images of the Senator in battle fatigues we say, wow, look what he did for his country, our country. He's offered his life to public service and the good of us all.
As the presidential campaigns move into high gear, we'll see images reflecting the metal of the men so inclined to seek leadership of the United States of America, as we've seen with images of President Bush at the ruins of the World Trade Center.
But, we're not saying "Wow!" Because we don't want to see those images. We're just getting back to normal, don't bring it up again. In our national conscience, we have nothing to be ashamed of; terrorists struck, we rose to that occasion and we all did what we could.
The most important thing our country needed on September 11, 2001 was leadership and Mayor Giuliani and President Bush stepped up to the plate. We had no doubt who was in charge of our world when it appeared to be in shambles.
I'm not writing about who would be the best man for the job come Election Day. And, at this moment, I'm not sure where my vote will be placed - I guess that puts me with the undecided. But I appreciate the reminder of things I just might forget and when I see something in the occasional paid political announcement, I reflect on the moments presented.
We're in danger of forgetting the 3000 persons who died in the terrorist attack on our nation - euphemistically referred to as "nine eleven ... you know what I mean," but actually a terrorist attack, let me remind myself again, terrorists dared to approach and destroy part of our sacred United States.
We need to be reminded because our memories are rather selective. We don't want to see Al Sharpton's political announcements because we don't feel responsible for our forebears' injustices - but the guilt pervades our consciences and we don't want to be reminded. If we're reminded, we might have to do something about it, and, what can one do?
It's us, the ones here, who seem to have a great deal to say about how things should be going. World War II ended with celebration. Korean vets came home to a little less hoopla but, nevertheless, honorably. The Vietnam vets came home and were called stupid for going. In all three cases, the men and women did the same thing, fought a war, tried to stay alive while obeying orders. But, the homefront was different. Americans for the most part didn't want them to go to fight someone else's war and the protests were loud, the demonstrations continuing and support for the troops non-existent.
We don't want to be reminded of that, either. But, when we see Kerry, on the scene in Vietnam, we see someone in control, obeying orders, doing what had to be done. We need to be reminded of that. Some of the Vietnam veterans have never come home, as least not actually. Most of the homeless men sleeping on the hot-air grates in big cities, were once foot soldiers in Vietnam. For the most part, they are sons of World War II vets, so highly esteemed. What happened, why wasn't it the same for them?
We happened - and now we're ashamed when we're reminded.
There's nothing wrong with being reminded. It gives us a chance to clear our consciences. If we allow time for reflection, we'll think of all the examples of how our system works ... and it does work. We'll remember how well peaceful demonstrations work. We might even realize that having the right to protest does not mean an insistence upon it.
When I saw the World Trade Center image in the George Bush political spot on television, I thought of what followed, and, of course, that would be the war. I don't like war, nobody does, but I believe in defending our country.
Terrorists attacked us, we declared war on terrorists, we'll destroy them wherever we find them and rid them from the face of the earth. I must keep reminding myself of what's happening as the body counts climb and the horrific events continue. I trust the plan for this war; I trust the system of government we support.
Just keep reminding me of Vietnam, Senator Kerry; and keep reminding me of September 11th, President Bush. And may the best man win.