Guest opinion: What would fallen American soldiers think of the attack on U.S. Capitol?
The past two weeks of disgusting news regarding our president and his cronies in Congress caused me to look for mind-numbing diversions. I began making bread. Until this afternoon’s headlines appeared on the television screen in the next room, pounding and kneading dough proved therapeutic, although not necessarily eatable. That is when the picture of Cleveland Grover Meredith, Jr. of Georgia appeared on the family room television. He had been one of the insurrectionists at the Capitol on Jan. 6. While claiming to be a “patriot,” Mr. Meredith is a fervent Trump supporter and proud QAnon member. When officers arrested him, he had a number of firearms in his possession and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. That, in and of itself, was distressing. However, on the screen next to the FBI’s formal charges, plain as day, were some of Mr. Meredith’s texts to fellow Trump supporters. In one text Mr. Meredith clearly stated that he wanted to put “a bullet in (Nancy Pelosi’s) noggin on Live TV.” Suddenly, kneading bread was not enough. An unimaginable sadness passed over me.
At that moment I thought of my dad. My dad was a U.S. Marine who left high school at 17 years of age to defend our country in World War II. During his time in the “Corps,” he managed to crisscross the Pacific Ocean, touching many islands and eventually ending up in China. While there he rode shotgun on supply trains bringing much-needed food and coal to “Peking” as he continued to call the city by its original name. Decades later it was renamed Beijing. As it turned out, his small band of “China Marines” were the first to fight Mao Zedong’s growing army. For obvious reasons my dad was a proud American and a true patriot.
It was my father who inspired me to apply and attend the United States Naval Academy. After graduation I flew attack aircraft on day and night missions from different aircraft carriers. My two sons are in the military. One is still in the Air Force Reserve and the other is active-duty Navy stationed overseas.
My dad passed away a number of years ago and was buried with full military honors. I can only imagine how disappointed he would be if he were still alive today. In one sense I’m glad he did not live long enough to see what happened on Jan. 6.
While idly watching the television camera pan around Washington, D.C., I caught a glimpse of Arlington National Cemetery. My mind wandered back to the many trips to Arlington National Cemetery I have made over the years. I thought of all those fallen heroes who gave their lives so that something like last Wednesday could never happen on sacred ground. Then I thought about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. What would they have thought?
Can the dead cry?
I barely missed the Vietnam War, but that is when the so-called Cold War throttled up. As we lacked access to network media while deployed in the Navy, the outside world was always a mystery to us. Life aboard an aircraft carrier during that era meant being in a state of constant nuclear readiness. This country has no recollection how close we came to nuclear war when Russia began sending troops to Cairo during the Yom Kippur War of 1973.
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