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REQUIEM

Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010

2/05/2007

Reflections of America
on Super Bowl Sunday


A goodly amount of time has passed since my last contribution to this forum. A lot of water over the gate, so to speak. And aside from mentioning a couple of semi-serious physical ailments that have transpired during that time, not to mention a major crisis in faith, I won’t bore the collective readership of ADB with the particulars. Needless to say, it’s good to be back, and hopefully this perspective meets with at least a few nodding heads in discernment.

Super Bowl Sunday! At least it is as I begin this commentary. And here I sit at my crowded, cluttered desk, staring at my huge, antiquated 19-in. monitor that takes up about 1/3 of the space as the game winds down. Didn’t watch it. And that’s a first. I’ve seen them all – including the first one, at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, in person, at a time when you could walk up to the box office on game day, purchase a ticket for $12, and take your place with the approximately 65,000 fans who should up to populate the then-near 100,000-seat capacity stadium.

My how times have changed.

So, this was something of a precedent-setting event for me. Normally, I will participate, if for no other reason than the Super Bowl is the last gasp of the current football season. Game, set and match. Fade to black, and we’ll see you next summer. No more fixes for us football junkies until August. And that’s reason enough t hoist a few non-alcoholic beers while downing several slices of pizza in the process, even if my interest in the whole circus has become diluted over the years.

Part of this is due, of course, to the fact that there is nary an NFL team to be found in the local environs of Southern California. The Chargers are too far away to get excited about, and with Marty-ball sapping the purity of essence of the Bolts’ precious bodily fluids these days (to paraphrase General Jack Ripper), they just don’t count. The Raiders were never an L.A. team, and they bugged out while the bugging was good. And, well . . . the Rams left town about five years before the Rams left town, if you get my drift. Add to this condition of ennui the fact that my season usually wraps up with whatever bowl game USC is playing in, in this case the Rose Bowl on January 1.

So, my interest this year’s wow-finish to the NFL season was at an all-time low going in. There remained, however, the question of what I was going to do with my free afternoon. Somehow, all the big TV extravaganzas designed to siphon viewers like myself away from the NFL elephant in the living room didn’t float my boat. Sifting through my extremely alpha-manly collection of DVDs did nothing to excite me either. You know you’re in trouble when you can’t come up with something suitable to watch from such choices as Braveheart, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, A Few Good Men, not to mention a plethora of Arnold Schwarzenegger blow-em-up-beat-em-up movies for good measure. I was in one serious funk as game time approached.

So, off I went to the junk closet and dusted off a box of old VHS tapes my wife had recorded before we parted company. I was in serious trouble here. I was down to chick-flicks on home grown VHS cassettes and nothing was looking good as I wiped off about an inch and a half of dust from the top layer of tapes.

Now, I’m what you might call an enlightened conservative. I refuse to use the word “compassionate” in this context for reasons I’m sure many of you will find all too obvious. I was astonished that I actually liked The Bridges of Madison County. Either I’ve developed some heightened sensibilities, a serious drop in testosterone levels or I’m just going soft on my old age.

Eventually, I found a film that I vaguely remembered we taped off television many years ago. The White Cliffs of Dover. This was one of those WWII-era schmaltzy, sentimental movies characteristic of that time. But I also remembered it had a certain bite to it that made it appealing this afternoon as I looked for an alternative to a day of bone-crushing Chicago Bear tackles and spectacular last-second Peyton Manning touchdown passes.

So . . . as they teed up the football in Miami, I dusted off my aging VHS tape and popped it into the VCR and I was off to the Never-never Land of make believe.

Now, it came back to me. Irene Dunne, Alan Marshall, Frank Morgan, a very young Roddy McDowell, an even younger Elizabeth Taylor and a further concoction of 1940s Hollywood big and not-so-big shots all gathered together on one screen. Not a bad cast if I do say so myself.

Without giving away the dramatic climax of the tale, the story concerns a young American woman (Dunne) who marries into the English gentry while traveling in Britain in 1914. The film centers around her life over the next 30 years. Now that was a particularly lively period of history for the U.K., not to mention the rest of the world. The plot examines the tension between her status as an English lady and her American roots, her husband’s service in WWI, the Depression, her son’s service in WWII a generation later and so on.

There were two scenes that framed much of the story that stood out in my never-to-be-humble opinion. In 1917, she and her newborn son were standing on a balcony, overlooking a parade of newly-arrived American fighting men as part of the Allied Expeditionary Force. She held her newborn baby in her arms all the while telling him that these were American fighting men, that they were his countrymen (he was, after all, half American), that they would fight well, destroy the barbarians, and bring a lasting peace.

After all, the context of this film was 1944. And the question always comes up – does the culture of the time influence the artistic representations (in this case film), or does the film influence the culture? Cultural historians can rage until dawn on this question. Regardless of the actual influence the AEF brought to bear toward a lasting peace, such sentiments did actually reflect the views of a good many Brits in 1917 after three years of carnage on the western front and nothing to show for it.

Well, the years went by, and at the film’s end, an aging Lady of the Manor – by this time a hospital matron tending the WWII battle casualties – stood on yet another balcony with her then British Commando son – recently evacuated following the abortive raid on Dieppe – and observed essentially the same procession of yet another generation of American fighting men, charged with the same task as their fathers half a lifetime before.

For all the schmaltz, sentiment and tragedy, it is a very powerful cinematic moment. But the point of this lengthy introduction is a line of dialogue that this woman delivers as the film reaches its climax, standing on the balcony, watching her countrymen once again stand up against the dark forces loose in the world.

She said, “God will never forgive us if we break faith with our dead ever again.”

That’s it. Fade to black. Buy war bonds in this theater.

Now, I can’t imagine anyone leaving a theater in 1944 with a dry eye in the house. I further can’t believe anyone made it past the box office without emptying their wallets to buy every war bond they could afford.

It was that kind of time.

It wasn’t so much the remark itself, but the demeanor of the woman as she made it. She spoke of a “peace that would stick” in the same context of the scene. But it wasn’t with the supreme confidence of the nations (America and Britain) or the peoples who know their cause is just. It was tinged with a sad lament.

Taking this to its illogical, fictitious conclusion . . .

Did she have any sense that the men who fought with such courage, resourcefulness and simple faith would age into complacent, arrogant couch potatoes, more concerned with their investment portfolios than the well-being of their children or their country?

Did she envision the massive rebellion of the generation that followed against their WWII-fathers, tearing down the societal foundations they had built, in a fit of self-absorbed generational rage, while offering nothing more enlightened with which to replace them?

Could she see the complacency of how we now live – fighting a global war for survival in an offhand, frivolous fashion, with no national commitment, with a population that, for the most part, does not notice and does not want to be bothered?

Could she imagine a spineless leadership – on both sides of the political spectrum – that will not protect the sovereignty of the country it has been elected to lead, has no interest in the protection of its citizens, will not mandate a national effort to defend the country from an enemy sworn to destroy it, and will sell its most precious national achievements to the cheapest foreign workforce?

Could she lament the erosion of her nation’s identity to the point that her great-grandchildren have no sense of who they are, where they live, or the heritage of their country?

And knowing this, would she think her sacrifices – indeed the sacrifices of all those souls who suffered through the dark years of her time – were worth it?

I’ve always made a habit of attending one of the annual Memorial Day services in my local area. It seems only right. We have a three-day weekend to honor the fallen. And the late-afternoon barbeque is merely a post-script made possible by the blood of those who actually valued the country. I’ve done this for more years than I can remember.

No more. I can no longer pay lip service to a ceremony that is followed by some local political hack wrapping himself in the flag and speaking about how America is merely a part of the global village, how cheap our consumer goods are thanks to Chinese manufacturing, how the avionics on our smart weapons are so reliable thanks to Indian engineering, and how illegal alien invaders are merely here to do the work Americans refuse to do.

I can no longer salute the flag on that day, only to be denied service at some of the more popular Mexican food stands in the area, because they reserve service for Latinos only.

And I can no longer shed a tear on the graves of the fallen – one of whom was among the first in my hometown to fall in Vietnam– when the nation produces a legal system of ambulance chasing shysters for whom a fast buck is their only motivation, and a national leadership that does not demand from this generation of young people, and the nation as a whole, the sober realization that we’re in a fight for our national survival, heritage, our soul, and that we may have to endure significant sacrifices as a result.

This is that kind of time, sad to say.

“God will never forgive us if we break faith with our dead ever again.”

Perhaps He won’t because perhaps we already have.

Maybe the main character in The White Cliffs of Dover knew something we didn’t, even without the perspective of history that we now enjoy. Maybe she had a foreshadowing of what was to come. The tone of her remarks at the end of that film was tinged with hope, pride and resignation at the same time. It was a rich cinematic moment, for all its sentimentality. Maybe she could see the immediate triumph in the offing and the slow collapse of the American soul that was to come.

So endeth another Super Bowl Sunday. Only this one I managed to navigate with the television off. Didn’t see so much as one down of football. Didn’t watch so much as one commercial. And I didn’t miss it. The Super Bowl is a pleasant diversion, but at the end, it comes time to wake up, smell the coffee and confront the troubles of this world once more.

I wonder who won? I wonder if the war-weary British Lady of the Manor in The White Cliffs of Dover wondered the same thing about her country?

by Euro-American Scum
(contributing team member of Allegiance and Duty Betrayed)
- Euro-American Scum can be reached at eascum@yahoo.com -

18 comments:

danthemangottschall said...

Beautifully said!

Thank you.

cw-patriot said...

E-AS, as always, your essay is incredibly insightful. Your powers of observation and analysis (especially of such momentous changes in our national psyche) are a rarity these days ... which is the main reason our republic is on its last legs.

Combining that gift with an equally rare gift of written communication makes your essays an extraordinarily valuable 'commodity' in this day and age -- when ignorance, of both history and verbal communication skills, and inability to think for oneself, prevail.

There are many these days who blame the media, in large part, for our downfall. While I certainly agree that the media play an integral part in the erosion of our national character, and the imminent fall of all that we hold dear … I believe the old ‘chicken and the egg’ concept applies.

Are the media in large part responsible for the erosion of our national character, or is the fact that our national character can’t hold a candle to that of our ‘greatest generation’ the catalyst that allows the media the power that it wields?

The World War II generation were a thinking people, not easily led, and certainly not willing to abrogate their freedoms easily. They would not have allowed an unelected, unaccountable effete corps of impudent snobs to make their decisions for them, or to program their thoughts. We, on the other hand, find passive behavior attractive in that it represents the path of least resistance. And the entrenched couch-potato position is a difficult state from which to emerge whole.

Resistance to tyranny, and making do (indeed, working miracles) with even meager tools at their disposal, were a way of life for our parents. Passivity was not an option. And what more sinister form of passivity exists than to leave one’s opinion-forming and decision-making to others – especially others who have proven, time and again, that truth is nothing more than a roadblock to the realization of an ideological agenda?

Granted, the power of the mainstream media today occurred incrementally. It was not am instantaneous journalistic coup. But, had we the character of our parents’ generation, that incrementalism would never have gained a foothold to begin with.

As a free people we are only as subject as we allow ourselves to be to those who would destroy our freedoms. Since the forties, we have voluntarily chosen to expose our soft underbellies to the schemers within our own borders, and the madmen across them. As Lincoln said, If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.

It is a privilege to include your writing here.

~ joanie

LouBarakos said...

Euro-American Scum’s

Did she have any sense that the men who fought with such courage, resourcefulness and simple faith would age into complacent, arrogant couch potatoes, more concerned with their investment portfolios than the well-being of their children or their country?

Did she envision the massive rebellion of the generation that followed against their WWII-fathers, tearing down the societal foundations they had built, in a fit of self-absorbed generational rage, while offering nothing more enlightened with which to replace them?

Could she see the complacency of how we now live – fighting a global war for survival in an offhand, frivolous fashion, with no national commitment, with a population that, for the most part, does not notice and does not want to be bothered?

Could she imagine a spineless leadership – on both sides of the political spectrum – that will not protect the sovereignty of the country it has been elected to lead, has no interest in the protection of its citizens, will not mandate a national effort to defend the country from an enemy sworn to destroy it, and will sell its most precious national achievements to the cheapest foreign workforce?


And cw-patriot’s

The World War II generation were a thinking people, not easily led, and certainly not willing to abrogate their freedoms easily. They would not have allowed an unelected, unaccountable effete corps of impudent snobs to make their decisions for them, or to program their thoughts. We, on the other hand, find passive behavior attractive in that it represents the path of least resistance. And the entrenched couch-potato position is a difficult state from which to emerge whole.

Resistance to tyranny, and making do (indeed, working miracles) with even meager tools at their disposal, were a way of life for our parents. Passivity was not an option. And what more sinister form of passivity exists than to leave one’s opinion-forming and decision-making to others – especially others who have proven, time and again, that truth is nothing more than a roadblock to the realization of an ideological agenda?

Granted, the power of the mainstream media today occurred incrementally. It was not am instantaneous journalistic coup. But, had we the character of our parents’ generation, that incrementalism would never have gained a foothold to begin with.

As a free people we are only as subject as we allow ourselves to be to those who would destroy our freedoms. Since the forties, we have voluntarily chosen to expose our soft underbellies to the schemers within our own borders, and the madmen across them. As Lincoln said, If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.


Says it all.

You two need to team up and get a show on Fox News---“The Scum-Patriot Report.” {G}

Thank you both.

DaveBurkett said...

I knew I had read an earlier column of yours so I went back and re-read your column "Who Are We?"

This one takes over where that one left off. Same theme, different perspective. Both great. You need to write more.

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent commentary on a 60 year decline that will herald the end of the greatest nation on earth.

calbrindisi said...

I have done the same as you, attended a Memorial Day service every year since I graduated from college in '74. I can't do it anymore either because I'm tired of watching local politicians just go through the motions and local high school bands acting like they'd rather be anywhere else than at the service.

We've lost the meaning of the day and everything that it represents.

lori_gmeiner said...

Every word true, painful but true. God forgive us for what we have done.

all_good_men said...

A famous World War II poster quoted Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: "...we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain..." !

Well it looks like our resolve did not last very long.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and God bless you. We need more like you, patriots willing and able to spread the word.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for being a voice of reason in a country gone mad!

fascismisyourworstenemy said...

Well done.

Along a similar vein:

http://www.rense.com/general68/americasengineered.htm

JohnSteever said...

"White Cliffs of Dover" is a class film, among the fifty best films ever made. And the way you've tied it in with modern American decay is logical and very well done.

stonemason said...

So endeth another Super Bowl Sunday. Only this one I managed to navigate with the television off. Didn’t see so much as one down of football. Didn’t watch so much as one commercial. And I didn’t miss it. The Super Bowl is a pleasant diversion, but at the end, it comes time to wake up, smell the coffee and confront the troubles of this world once more.

The problem is, most people revolve their lives around the first part and refuse to do the last. That's why everything you described has occurred, and will continue.

Good column, thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

This site is full of all of the whinning, crying, conspiracy theories you find on any lunatic fringe right wing site. Stick a sock in it. You'll be out of power in 2 short years.

2ndamendmentdefender said...

“God will never forgive us if we break faith with our dead ever again.”

Can you think of a more powerful sentence in the human language? But so few of us are listening.

This is a very powerful column with many messages on many levels and I agree with every word. Kudos, Scum.

smithy said...

Brutal honesty.

Much needed.

Thanks.

John Cooper said...

From Abraham Lincoln's speech given on Saturday Evening, July 10, 1858, at Chicago, Illinois.

We are now a mighty nation, we are thirty---or about thirty millions of people, and we own and inhabit about one-fifteenth part of the dry land of the whole earth. We run our memory back over the pages of history for about eighty-two years and we discover that we were then a very small people in point of numbers, vastly inferior to what we are now, with a vastly less extent of country,---with vastly less of everything we deem desirable among men,---we look upon the change as exceedingly advantageous to us and to our posterity, and we fix upon something that happened away back, as in some way or other being connected with this rise of prosperity. We find a race of men living in that day whom we claim as our fathers and grandfathers; they were iron men, they fought for the principle that they were contending for; and we understood that by what they then did it has followed that the degree of prosperity that we now enjoy has come to us. We hold this annual celebration to remind ourselves of all the good done in this process of time of how it was done and who did it, and how we are historically connected with it; and we go from these meetings in better humor with ourselves---we feel more attached the one to the other, and more firmly bound to the country we inhabit. In every way we are better men in the age, and race, and country in which we live for these celebrations. But after we have done all this we have not yet reached the whole. There is something else connected with it. We have besides these men---descended by blood from our ancestors---among us perhaps half our people who are not descendants at all of these men, they are men who have come from Europe---German, Irish, French and Scandinavian---men that have come from Europe themselves, or whose ancestors have come hither and settled here, finding themselves our equals in all things. If they look back through this history to trace their connection with those days by blood, they find they have none, they cannot carry themselves back into that glorious epoch and make themselves feel that they are part of us, but when they look through that old Declaration of Independence they find that those old men say that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal," and then they feel that that moral sentiment taught in that day evidences their relation to those men, that it is the father of all moral principle in them, and that they have a right to claim it as though they were blood of the blood, and flesh of the flesh of the men who wrote that Declaration [loud and long continued applause], and so they are. That is the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.

John Cooper said...

I found two moving speeches given on the House floor on Friday the 16th - the one by Sam Johnson of Texas stands out.

Congressman Johnson Pleads for the Troops at Powerline has the video of Rep. Johnson's speech with the comment:
"The last Republican to speak against the Democrats' anti-surge, pro-defeat resolution yesterday was Sam Johnson of Texas. Johnson was a pilot who flew something like 90 combat missions in Korea and Vietnam. He was shot down over North Vietnam and spent seven years as a POW, most of that time in solitary confinement. He returned to the U.S. in 1973 and was elected to Congress in 1991."

The transcription of his entire speech can be found on page H1837 of the Congressional Record, under "Iraq War Resolution". (Sorry, http://thomas.loc.gov doesn't provide permanent links)

Sen. Johnson recalled the 7 years he spent in a POW camp in Hanoi - many of them in leg irons:

~~~
"I say that because, in some ways, I am living a dream, a hope that I had for the future. From April 16, 1966, to February 12, 1973, I prayed that I would return home to the loving embrace of my wife, Shirley, and my three kids, Bob, Jenny, and Beverly. My fellow POWs and I clung to the hope of when, not if, we returned home. We would spend hours tapping on the adjoining cement walls about what we would do when we got home to America. We pledged to quit griping about the way the government was running the war in Vietnam and do something about it. We decided we would run for office and try to make America a better place for all of us.

So, little did I know back in my rat-infested 3-by-8 dark, filthy cell that, 34 years after my departure from hell on earth, I would spend the anniversary of my release pleading for a House panel to back my measure to support and fully fund our troops in harm's way; and, that just days later I would be on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, surrounded by distinguished veterans, urging Congress to support our troops to the hilt.

We POWs were still in Vietnam when Washington cut the funding for Vietnam. I know what it does to morale and mission success. Words cannot fully describe the horrendous damage of the anti-American efforts against the war back home to the guys on the ground. Our captors would blare nasty recordings over the loudspeaker of Americans protesting back home, tales of Americans spitting on Vietnam veterans when they came home, and worse. I don't think we should ever, ever let that happen again. The pain inflicted by your country's indifference is tenfold that inflicted by your ruthless captors.

Our troops and their families want, need, and deserve the full support of this country and the Congress. Moms and dads watching the news need to know that the Congress will not leave their sons and daughters in harm's way without support."
~~~
House Minority Leader Boehner summed the situation up succinctly:

~~~
"Mr. Speaker, at this very moment American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away, and it is unthinkable that the United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely.

The American people will not support a strategy that involves pulling the rug out from under American troops in the combat zone by cutting off their reinforcements and forcing them to face an enemy without our full support.

This resolution is nonbinding, but it is the first step toward a tragic, unthinkable goal. Four years ago, this body agreed that fighting this war was a worthy cause. There have been setbacks where Members on both sides of the aisle are rightly dissatisfied with the results. But this is war. We face a sophisticated, determined enemy who wants to annihilate our way of life.

We have a duty to stand and fight against those who seek to destroy America and the freedom that defines us. Our troops are committed to fighting and winning this global war. We owe them our unfailing support.

I urge my colleagues to stand with the marines, the soldiers, the sailors and the airmen and vote down this resolution. I urge my colleagues to think about our duty, our duty to support our troops, our duty to protect the American people, and our duty to leave for our kids and their kids a safe, free, and secure America. Our soldiers are dying around the world to protect us, upholding their duty. Do we have the courage to uphold our duty?"
~~~