Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Last straw for my father: "America Supports Your Freedom Walk"

My father has been disturbed by many of the actions of the Bush administration: lack of support for veterans, Bush's terrible environmental record both as governor in Texas and as President, the tax cuts for the wealthy ("Reagan tried the same bullshit"), proposals for Social Security, faith-based initiative, and more. However, nothing has gotten the reaction like he gave this morning in response to this article, Pentagon plans to observe Sept. 11 anniversary with march, concert.
The Pentagon would hold a massive march and country music concert to mark the fourth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in an announcement tucked into an Iraq war briefing today.

"This year the Department of Defence will initiate an America Supports Your Freedom Walk," Rumsfeld said, adding that the march would remind people of "the sacrifices of this generation and of each previous generation".

The march will start at the Pentagon, where nearly 200 people died on September 11, 2001, and end at the National Mall with a show by country star Clint Black.

Word of the event startled some observers.

Well, word of this event sure startled my father!

My eighty-year-old father is a veteran of World War II. Like many American men of his generation, he volunteered to enlist in order to defend the United States against alliance of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Imperial Japan. His two older brothers were already in the military; one in the Navy was aboard an aircraft carrier in the South Pacific and the other in the Army in the infantry serving under Patton.

Dad wanted to become a pilot in the Air Corps. After completing basic as an air cadet and despite high aptitude, scholastic record, and test scores like many American men not of privilege his request for pilot school was declined along with everyone else in his unit. They were being sent to gunnery school destined to be ball turret or tail gunners. Fortunately, my father had been and Eagle Scout where he had learned radio, Morse code and signaling and this got him sent to radio school. He was assigned as a radioman behind the pilot of a B-17, which considering the high casualty rate of ball turret gunners probably allowed for my birth 15 years later.

My father has been an active member locally of Veterans of Foreign Wars as long as I can remember. The year I was born he was the Commander of his post. Despite his age and some medical problems, he still regularly does volunteer work for the local VA hospital and Veteran's home. The last few years he has devoted most of his time in tracking and commemorating the local gravesites of veterans of foreign wars, which is culminated each year on Memorial Day. The members of his VFW Post have been greatly disturbed by the policies of the Bush administration regarding veterans.

I have presented this background on my father to give some perspective to his reaction to the announcement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld of the "America Supports Your Freedom Walk".
"These guys [Bush administration] are just like the Nazis. Exploiting 9/11 like this makes me believe they either wanted it or helped it to happen." --my dad, member of the Greatest Generation
Now, my dad is also Disgusted in St. Louis!


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