July 3, 2010

A Moment for the Fourth of July

I’ve never been the Patriotic-type, where I fly the flag on my house or wear it on a tie.  But you see, as an American Citizen that is a right that I have.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love my country.  I just never have been the flag waving type of person.  As tomorrow is the Fourth of July, mostly everyone will enjoy the fact that we will be having cookouts and BBQs all over the country. 
HOWEVER!!!  I think we as Americans have totally forgotten one of the main reasons that we have this holiday.  Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.  But, one thing that we haven’t mentioned is the fact that our soldiers are not getting the love that they really deserve.
Now why would I say this?  I look back at American History and see what we’ve done to/for our soldiers.  When they came home from World War II, they were greeted with adoration and respect.  As the years progressed, we had the Korean War and our soldiers still got the respect that they deserved.  But, once the Vietnam Conflict came about, when our soldiers came home, they were completely vilified by US: The United States citizens!  We shunned them, treated them like they were Satan’s Stepchildren, and basically told them “Thank you for fighting, but go to hell.”  In some respects, after our troops came home from the first Gulf War, we ALMOST treated them the same way. 
The liberties that we’ve taken for granted are because these men and women made a choice to serve their country by going into the military do not.  All those people that complain about the military wouldn’t have the testicular fortitude to even think of going out there to do what they do on the front line.
Now I know the couple of you are wondering: Where is all of this coming from?  Well for me, the military has been in my family for a long time.  My paternal grandfather, Cornelius Henderson (R.I.P.) fought in World War II.  My maternal grandfather, Retired Sergeant Major Jack Chatman Sr. was in the Vietnam War… not only that, but he was in the Army for over 30+ years before he decided to call it quits.  My father is a proud Vietnam Veteran.  My uncle Victor was both Air Force and Navy for many years.  So as you see I am DAMN proud and blessed that the military has been in my family for years.  To add to this, but a good many in my circle of friends are currently military now (Manny who is in Afghanistan right now, Kina, and Keith) and two that are former military (Dave & TC) {side note: shout out to The Conglomerate}…
I say all of this for a few reasons.  One this has been sitting on my heart all day thinking about it & I needed to get this written out before I completely forgot it.
Also to say this: you might have a differing opinion than mine about Iraq War: The Sequel and Afghanistan: The Sands of Time, that’s fine & I can accept that.  But I think despite that, I think it is safe to say (at least on my part) that we all want our soldiers to come back home to their loved ones and family and friends in one body and one mind. 
Those of us that aren’t in can’t truly fathom what you all go through on a day to day basis whether here at home or abroad.  Even if you told me the stories every day, it would still continue to amaze me every single time.  Not because the stories are fantastic or horrific, depending on what you want to tell… but because you CHOSE to serve in a capacity where you put your country ahead of yourself.
I want to take the time to say to everyone in the military that might be reading this THANK YOU and I love all our service men and women very much.  I know you hear it on TV or on the radio from different people and it sounds kinda insincere.  But from me, and everything I just mentioned above, this one is deep from my heart to all of you in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard that serve to keep this country safe and to protect the values of life that United States Citizens have very quickly taken for granted.
So to all of you celebrating July 4th 2010, PLEASE make sure you remember the real reason why this holiday is here.  It’s not because it gives you a day off.  It’s not because it gives you a chance to see family.  It’s not because it gives you a chance to go to the park and see a bunch of fireworks while the 1812 Overture (note – do your history on this song too) is being played during the show.  No.  It is because of the soldiers that give their lives every day and the fallen soldiers that GAVE their lives so that we are able to continue to live ours.


  1. Ripped off like Jazz
    Ripped off like the Indians
    Ripped off like Christmas

    Good shit homie, I will be celebrating my 31st trip around the sun, as I have been since 1245 Thursday morning, party with the fam. Granddad was a SFC in Korea, so I feel it from all angles.

  2. Man, you just don't know how hard it was for me to write that. I was crying during the writing process, and then on the 4th, my church had a little event, and I got heavily choked up while reading it. But it felt good writing that one.