Monday, November 24, 2008
In 1745 there was a rebellion in Scotland. Prince Charles Stuart tried to take back the throne he believed rightfully belonged his father James. The rebellion failed and at the battle of Culloden 1000's of Scots, mostly Highlanders, were killed and 1000's more captured and imprisoned for treason against the English Crown. The carnage that followed was unimaginable. The English wanted to make sure that the Scots understood to whom they owed their loyalty. Farms were burned, families slaughtered, to make the King's point. The humiliation they suffered was just as heartbreaking. The Highlanders were no longer allowed to speak Gaelic, play their music, wear the colors of their Clan, or bear arms. All of the things that made them Scots and Highlanders were ripped away from them. In the 20 years that followed the '45, Highlanders, either released from prision, or just unable to make a living in Scotland, immigrated to the American Colonies. Before they were allowed to leave they were forced to sign an oath pledging their allegiance to the King and promising never to raise arms against England. They signed and left their beloved country for the unknown wilderness that was the colonies.
Being mostly Highlanders, they settled in the mountains of Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina. They built farms, raised their families, had their Gatherings and tried to regain the identity and diginity that had been stripped from them. They had survived, and had built new lives.
Then, after 30 years had passed since that fateful day on the fields of Culloden and the wounds of their loss had begun to heal, along comes Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Independance. There were rumors of war and revolution and the people of the American Colonies were being asked to choose a side. Now, these Highlanders knew first hand what losing a war to the English looked like. But, for the most part, they had become Americans and were still filled with the same desire to be a free, self-governing people that had sent them to war in the Highlands. So, with a few exceptions, they gathered together and fought. Fought against the tyranny they had hated all their lives. Fought for their new country, for their families, and for their right to live as free people. They fought, knowing that if they lived and lost the war, they would not live for long and their families would bear the sting of their treason. But they fought. They stood up, refusing to be pawns of a distant king. They risked everything to be free, to be the masters of their own destiny, and in the end won the right to live their lives in peace and freedom.
So, what have YOU done for your country today?
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
With the election over and the results disappointing, I have been thinking a lot about the Freedom of Speech. What constitutes speech and who decides? We have been told that burning the American Flag is protected speech, the hate spewed by the KKK and their ilk is protected speech, but you can't have the Ten Commandments in a public building because of the separation of church and state, which, by the way is not in the Constitution. The entire concept was taken from a personal letter written by Thomas Jefferson and it was never Jefferson's intention to keep church out of government, but to keep government out of the church...but that is another blog for another day. Today I was sent a news story about a man named Jesse Nieto. Mr. Nieto is a 25 year veteran of the United States Marine Corps who did 2 full tours of duty in Vietnam (not the 18 week, whateverthehellthatwas that John Kerry did). Mr. Nieto's son Marc was killed on the U.S.S. Cole. Today Mr. Nieto is a civilian contractor working at Camp LeJune in North Carolina. He was pulled over by the MP's the day before yesterday and given a ticket for having this decal on the back of his truck:
He was told that he was not allowed to drive on government installations with "objectionable material" on his vehicle. Government installations include Arlington Cemetary where his son, killed by Al Qaeda, is buried. Now, I don't really have a problem with government installations and buildings having rules, but the rules should be the same for everyone....people drive in those places with anti Christian bumper stickers but that doesn't seem to be "objectionable", regardless of what other people think, I believe that Mr. Nieto has EARNED the right to say whatever the hell he wants.
And, at the risk of offending or upsetting people, I think Muslims need to get over themselves. It may certainly be the case that not ALL Muslims are terrorists, but it was Muslims that murdered Mr. Nieto's son and 16 other sailors that day and it was out of religious fanaticism. They believed they were doing the will of Allah. It WAS Muslims that murdered nearly 3,000 people on 9/11/01 and they did it out of religious fanaticism. So while the majority of Muslims are peaceful and not much different than us, this group of fanatics are following the teachings of the Koran and are killing those they perceive to be infidels. They have the right, here in America, to stand on the street, scream "Death to America" and burn our Flag and that is protected speech, but Mr. Nieto's decal....offensive. That distinction is what I find offensive.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There are phrases that you hear over and over again and never stop to think about what they really mean....fight tooth and nail or hand over fist, and then one I've been hearing a lot lately; the gift of freedom. Think about that for a second...the gift of freedom. A gift is something that is free. Given with no cost to you or effort on your part, and once given and accepted, it's yours forever. Our freedom wasn't a gift. It was paid for with the blood, limbs, and lives of brave and dedicated men and women. Keeping that freedom isn't effortless either. Everyday we must protect it, fight for it and wrest it away from those who would abuse it or take it from us. So, the next time someone tells you about the gift of freedom.....tell them how we came to be free, and remember, when you see them.....thank the ones that protect our freedom.