The rolling roar of Patriotism
Dear Mr. Garrison Keillor,
It is fascinating how people looking at the same event see it so differently. I am speaking of your comments on the Rolling Thunder ride to Washington DC on Memorial Day weekend. You were there in body, I was there in spirit. While I wish my body was there, you wish there were no bodies there. While American men and women roared their love and pride of America and the fallen heroes who died to protect it. You were impatient to get into a museum to gaze upon paintings by the way you spoke of you had often seen. Yet were these works of Americans? No. They were the work of artists from a country Americans had died to free from tyranny, not once but twice. Yet not a century later this country insults America, will not stand up with America against their mutual enemies. A very interesting way to show honor to America's military dead on Memorial Day.
While I can summon up images of World War II based on books , TV, movies, the image that is most prevalent in my mind is my fear as the draft lotto numbers were pulled in 1973. My number was high enough I wasn't drafted. I enlisted 2 years later. Images of that time that are still with me are watching my friends and strangers burst into tears or hysteria for reasons that only they could see after they returned from Viet Nam. Some of these as you call them "fat men with ponytails on Harleys" were there. They left part of themselves there, along with all of some friends. They are not grown men playing soldier they are men who were soldiers as children. Their courage and patriotism was tested under fire and it didn't waver. They were in DC this Memorial Day, along with the friends and families of those who never made it back and those who did, from not only Viet Nam but both World Wars, Korea, and all the other military actions before and since.
These people who so disturbed your weekend care more about America's war dead then to just sit quietly and read a book about it. They took their money, their lives and their time to come to the Capital of the greatest nation the world has ever known on Memorial Day Weekend, not to sit quietly but as the name suggests, to Roar with Rolling Thunder. To show those who could not make the trip that their loved ones who never made it back, or only made it back part way are not forgotten. To show the world that America is still here as strong and as proud as ever and we never forget our heroes.
Please enjoy your pictures and your dream of being "the boatman" and as you do remember, the mere fact that you can dream is due to the millions of Americans who gave up their dreams so you and others can.
Maybe next Memorial Day I can be there in body as well as spirit and so can you.