Thursday, November 8, 2007
This Sunday is Veteran's Day - a little noticed day in the year. Except that banks and post offices get to close on those days. They are observing Veteran's Day on Monday this year.
I don't want to rouse a political discussion - we are all entitled to believe as we want. That, of course, is one of the privileges we have because of those we honor on Veteran's Day. And although I have been accused of being a member of the Republican party, I am not a party person, meaning I don't vote by party. I vote by the person. I vote for the person who most closely believes as I do and lives a life of integrity. I have voted for people in both major political parties in my lifetime and I would not hesitate to vote outside of the two main parties if I found someone worthy of my vote. I do not vote by race or gender either. I try to stay informed of political and world issues - I believe that is my duty as a citizen of our great country. I believe everyone should. Sadly, not a great many do.
This week President Bush met with France's new president, President Sarkozy. What he said to a joint meeting of the House and Senate was amazing. Of course, I didn't hear about it on any major news networks. You probably didn't either. It doesn't fit in with what the media's beliefs are, so they simply ignore it. Here is what he said:
"To the millions of men and women who came from every country of the world and who -- with their own hands, their intelligence, and their hearts -- built the greatest nation in the world, America did not say, "Come, and everything will be given to you." Rather, she said, "Come, and the only limits to what you will be able to achieve will be those of your own courage, your boldness, and your talent. The America that we love throughout the world impedes this extraordinary ability to grant each and every person a second chance, another chance, because, in America, failure is never the last word. There is always another chance. Here -- in your country, on this soil -- both the humblest and the most illustrious citizens alike know that nothing is owed to them and that everything has to be earned. That is what constitutes the moral value of America. America liberated us, and this is an eternal debt we owe America. Every time, whenever an American soldier falls somewhere in the world, I think of what the American army did for France. I think of them -- and I am sad as one is saddened to lose a member of one's family."
I just thought that was amazing. This French president gets it. This has nothing to do with the mentally ill, the oppressed, or the sick. Jesus clearly told us that it is our job to take care of them. (And my personal belief on this matter is that this should be done more on an individual, charitable, and spiritual level - not so much a governmental one.) But for all who are able - the opportunity awaits them. We can be who we want to be. Because of the great price of Freedom. And this weekend I will think of my dad, my father-in-law, my husband, my brother, and all of those who have served this great country through military service. I owe them a debt I can never repay.
Well, that's as political as I ever want to be on my blog. But this struck my heart at a deep level and I wanted to share the words of a man who is from another country. A man who understands Americans better than a lot of Americans do. Because if you didn't read them here, you may never see them at all.