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Monday, August 10, 2015

A Patriotic Weekend

Needless to say, I am an American.  Yesterday morning, I watched "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" on TV.  It is a movie about the Doolittle Raid of April, 1942.  (If you do not know this story, I suggest Googling "Doolittle Raid.")  The movie was made in 1944, while World War II was still raging, in both Europe and in the Pacific.  It starred Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson.  I had not seen it in many decades, if indeed I had ever watched it in full before.  I found myself sitting there, in my living room, weeping uncontrollably.  I must have cried for at least ten minutes.

I was born one year before that movie was made, in a U.S. Naval hospital.  My Dad was a Lieutenant in the Navy. Last year, Shirl and Alex and I traced her father Basil Kimball's path from Normandy on D-Day to Merseburg, south of Berlin, where he was on VE Day in 1945.  The movie made me realize what our country and her Allies went through in that great and horrible war.  I wept for them, and for the postwar fate of the Chinese, who rescued many of the crewmen of Doolitte's Raiders.  I wept for the changes in the ideals of Americans,  I wept, I guess, the tears of an aging patriot.

A bit later yesterday, my U.S. Marine veteran friend Merlin Bianco posted the video below on Facebook, and I shared it, with these comments:
"My country 'tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!"
We all knew that song, and "God Bless America."
How many of our school kids could sing "God Bless America" today?
Is it even legal to teach it in school?

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