You know, I’m probably far from what you would consider the most patriotic person in the world, but something happened tonight that just caused me to stop and think about all the patriotism and flag waving that is going on these days.
I took Alexander to his first Tiger Cubs meeting tonight. Yes, my boy is going into the Cub Scouts. That in and of itself is a pretty rocking thing, if you ask me. The leader started talking about camps that they go to and activities that they participate in, and I was sitting there flooded with memories from when I did all of those things the first time. My first Pine Wood Derby. My first camping trip. Earning my Arrow Of Light. Camp Seoul. These are all things that Alex has too look forward to, and I’m really excited to be able to watch him experience them.
They were having a “21 Gun Salute” ceremony at the church that sponsors his Tiger Cub pack. So at the end of the meeting we all go out to watch it. The “21 guns” were actually a single cannon that was about the size of a remote control car. Shot 21 times. By a guy wearing a tie dyed shirt. There were no guns. No military men. It was a sham of a ceremony.
And it pissed me off.
It pissed me off because of the fact that it seemed to me to be a pathetic sham to promote “patriotism.” The partner of the tie dyed wearing gunman making sure to catch it all on video. It included kids screaming and talking about how cool it was to see the gun shoot. It included adults talking the whole time. It was, basically, a really big joke.
And yet, despite all this, I stayed silent the whole time. I paid attention. I didn’t talk. I didn’t let Alex talk. I stared ahead and winced every time the gun went off. And I was pissed that I was the only one doing it.
And the funny fucking thing is that I’ll bet that the people watching this event with me..these church going, mostly conservative folks, would consider themselves more patriotic than I if you lined us up next to each other.
Oh, yeah…and then, tonight, I was flipping channels and I landed on that 9/11 documentary. And watched the whole thing. So I’m a tad bit depressed now, thanks for asking.