Guest Editorial, July 17-20, 2010
My husband, daughter and I participated in the Park City, Utah, Fourth of July parade. We entered the parade with open hearts and patriotic feelings for our country and citizens. We were visiting family and friends in the Park City area and entered the parade with our family and friends in the local American Legion chapter.
Maybe some of you that attended remember myself and my little family. My 7-year-old daughter was in a wheelchair due to a broken ankle and couldn’t use her crutches for the entire parade route. She was holding the hand of my husband who is an Iraqi War veteran and has currently served 17 years in the United States Army and is now an Army Reservist. Who, I might add, is gearing up for another tour of duty in either Iraq or Afghanistan. We will know more when those long awaited/stressful active duty orders come through.
I am writing this in the hopes that you will publish what I heard and experienced during the parade. While most residents/visitors applauded my husband in his uniform and our patriotic spirit, we experienced an appalling spectacle of boos and silence. Are you kidding me? My Vietnam-era veteran friends nodded their heads at my frustration, and looked defeated at the thought that this "popular" opinion was happening again to them and to a new generation of soldiers. Are we in 2010 or 1972?
Wake up, people. By all means have your opinions about the current political climate and your views about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have my own opinions that, as an American, I am allowed to have. I do not support war. I support the soldier and the families of military men/women that suffer right along with our loved ones.
My husband does not sit behind a desk. He has been shot at, blown up, should have not survived several attacks by enemy soldiers and seen his friends/colleagues be killed in action. My 7-year-old daughter and I, who are proud to hold the hand of a wonderful husband/father/soldier, want to wear red, white and blue to celebrate the fact that he is home safely (for the time being) and show our patriotic spirit as Americans in a July 4th parade.
I ask you, if you were indeed the participants in the booing and name calling, do you feel better? Are you proud of yourselves? My daughter still gets teary-eyed and keeps asking us why anyone in her "Daddy-flag America" would treat us this way? My husband tells her that people having the freedom of opinion to do what they believe is, frankly, a right of Americans and what he is fighting for. And that calmness and fierce devotion to his family and country is what keeps me going during the long deployments and stress, and preparing for his next inevitable deployment.
I have spent the first 31 years of my life in Southern California, and the last 11 years in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I have participated with veterans’ groups in 11 July 4th parades over the years. And I can’t remember having been so saddened and disappointed in a select group’s public reaction to my family’s patriotic spirit and my husband’s uniform.
Feel what you want about the war, but remember that it is people like my husband and other veterans that give you the right to express your beliefs. Support the soldiers and their families. It is that simple. And feel free to visit another country where your "freedom of speech" would be met with violence and death. Are you proud of making a 7-year-old patriotic little girl cry? Please think about what I have to say at next year’s parade. By all means applaud your love of the "ski/snowboard" season, but honor our military as well. Food for thought.
Happy Fourth of July, Park City, Utah.
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