Posted in Living, Poetry

The Extraordinary Gentlemen


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As I prepared to write this post, the Memorial Day holiday uppermost on my mind, my husband flipped on the television to the movie, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. It seemed appropriate, this far-fetched tale about a group of men (and a woman!) who band together to use their unique talents to save the world.

On Memorial Day, we take time to remember our own loved ones who have passed, but also pay much-deserved respect to those who died in defense of our country. The British poet A.E. Housman has a short poem about the sacrifice of our soldiers that goes like this:

Here dead lie we because we did not choose
To live and shame the land from which we sprung.
Life, to be sure, is nothing much to lose;
but young men think it is, and we were young.

Patriotism doesn’t mean you have to blindly believe everything your government tells you or wholly support your government’s actions. The great thing about America is that we have the right to make known our disagreements with those in power, both through our free speech and at the ballot box.

There is a difference, however, between disagreeing with a government policy, or even war, and denigrating those who have chosen to defend our right to freedom with their very lives if necessary. When soldiers of the last Great War returned home, they did so to parades, confetti reigning down on them amidst the grateful cries of an entire nation. The soldiers who returned from Korea were quickly forgotten. Those who managed to come home from Vietnam outside of a body bag were scorned.

So, every Memorial Day, I feel a great swelling of pride for our soldiers past and present, along with sorrow for the times when those soldiers have been made to feel less than heroes by the very people they have sworn to protect.

There are ways to express disagreement with government policy or even war. Write letters to Congress. March on Washington. But honor always those in uniform who did not choose to shame us by defending our right to be free. They are the ones who are truly extraordinary.

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Author:

I am a 40-something Texan with a feisty cat and a supportive husband of 20 years. With a Master's degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing, I have taught creative writing at Texas Tech, won awards for my writing and been blessed to be mentored by Horn Professor and poet Dr. Walt McDonald. I earn a living by helping my husband's family run a health food store, but my avocation is writing. I hope you enjoy reading about some of my triumphs and tragedies as I continue to work on figuring out what life is all about and on growing my ability to share my writing. May your own journey be a blessed one.

3 thoughts on “The Extraordinary Gentlemen

  1. Living a few miles from Shaw AFB for the last 6 years has brought my attention to how our military sacrifices. I see it everyday. Live next door, down the street and go to church with them. They cover this city. They walk around in their uniforms and try to live normal lives; but they are far from it. We will never know the horror stories they live with but at least we can treat them with honor and dignity. But, I can tell you the last few years many of them are afraid to speak of their service due to the outrage thrown at them. They are very unhappy with this present government.

    1. Thanks for adding the perspective about our modern day soldiers. I realized after I posted my blog that I had not emphasized them as much as I might have. Thanks, again, to everyone who serves or has served or is a serving family!

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