So, there I was, innocently watching the news on Fox News Channel, when the screen split in two, and on the left side was some guy talking about his group's letters to all military, basically telling them to go AWOL. On the right side, was a military representative who was denying the other guy's assertion that one out of four Marines and other military believe that 9/11 was President Bush's doing. He extolled the virtues of a volunteer military who see the truth, because their boots are on that ground, and who have first-hand experience with the realities in the Middle East conflicts. I then went to my computer to check my emails, and received the following:
Dear Dr. Laura:
I'm the proud 2-year resident of Lebanon, Missouri. Today, our city buried a hero, Army Specialist James Finley, who was killed in Afghanistan.
You probably recall the protests and fits that the wacked-out liberals threw in Berkeley, California when the Marines opened a recruiting station. I'd like to contrast their behavior toward the military with the behavior I saw from my fellow citizens in Lebanon today.
In Sunday's local paper, the Mayor asked everyone to line the route the funeral procession would take to Specialist Finley's final resting place. Local businessmen purchased flags for people to hold, and gave them away by the hundreds. Even though it was lightly raining, several THOUSAND people lined Jefferson Street to express their condolences and respect for the service of one of America's true heroes. Hundreds of Patriot Guard riders, fire trucks from several departments and hundreds of mourners made up the several mile-long funeral procession. All business in town (including Wal-Mart) closed for an hour to allow their employees to pay their respects. Bankers in suits stood next to men in work clothes, all silently holding their hands over their hearts and displaying flags as the procession passed. I did my best to capture the procession and the number of people with my small camera, but the images don't do the scene justice. I hope the Finley family took some small comfort from seeing thousands of their fellow citizens paying respect for their son's sacrifice.
I'm proud and honored to be living in a community where duty, honor and patriotism still mean something. On July 4th, a 3-story tall flag is hung from the County Courthouse. On July 12, we have our annual "God and Country" fireworks celebration, and on September 11, we will have a formal ceremony with a military fly-over to recognize everyone who has given the ultimate in keeping us free from terrorism.
Those in Berkeley may feel like they are accomplishing something with their protests. Here in Lebanon, we truly know how to recognize a hero and what it truly means to be an American.