Whatever Happened to Nationalism?
This week I read about a 75 year- old New Jersey woman being forced to remove American flags from her apartment balcony. According to Fox News Radio, the woman’s apartment is run by the local housing authority, which has cited lease violations and safety issues as reasons behind the move.
We’ve all read stories like this before from across the nation, but Memorial Day Weekend brings these stories to the forefront: complaining neighbors, minority groups, homeowner’s associations and city councils citing any number of reasons behind forcing- or at least attempting to force- down the glorious Red, White and Blue from proudly waving in the breeze. There have even been reports of students being sent home from school for wearing an American flag t-shirt.
Since this is America, and this flag is meant to invoke feelings of solidarity, pride and nationalism in its citizens, stories like this beg the question:
What the hell are we talking about this for?
At some point over the past 20 years, our society seems to have chosen a path to practical national obscurity: we have no official national language, we no longer mass- produce anything of world- renowned value, and our children, as a whole, don’t understand proper etiquette when it comes to facing the flag, the playing of Taps or the National Anthem.
We are the only country in the world to not only tolerate, but care & provide for illegal immigrants at the expense of its own citizens. We’ve allowed for our historically patriotic and cultural events to be butchered beyond recognition: Christmas, Independence Day and even Thanksgiving have been almost completely sanitized of any sort of nationalism or cultural foundation. We change the name of some holidays, or rework its nature or date entirely to incorporate other cultural or ethnic happenings in such a way that it ought to be offensive to Americans.
But a sort of polite society forbids us from speaking about this publicly, lest we be labeled a racist.
This lax attitude towards nationalism trickles through to different aspects of local Americana, and outside of official Memorial Day events throughout our community over this past weekend, reared its ugly head in a fashion seen too often in our society.
One of our staff members, Malcolm Reynolds, encountered an Asian family fishing from the Korean War Memorial at Lake Pacawa on Sunday. He approached them, asking if they thought it was appropriate to fish from a war memorial not just during Memorial Day weekend, but at any time of year.
“Memorial Day? Is that like the Fourth of July?” asked the teenage daughter.
Shocked and saddened, Malcolm had to walk away. This young girl seemed to have no knowledge of the importance of this holiday, nor did anyone in the group seem to realize the intrusion.
Malcolm’s sadness and disgust at this situation- and relaying the story of it- isn’t racist. It’s a sudden realization that Americanism is no longer at the forefront of our patriotic holidays, and Memorial Day itself was no exception.
Secondary to being Memorial Day Weekend, it’s also a big bbq’ing/beach- going weekend for many households, and ours was no exception. Afterwards paying respects at the Pfiffner Memorial Day event, I took my own kids to Iverson Park for some swimming and relaxation, as we do every year.
We expected to see many other families enjoying the sun and the water. But what we didn’t expect to see was the maddening lack of shame normally reserved for Walmart.
The details aren’t really necessary to offer you, as I’m sure you’ve all seen it, but the point is pretty clear: Memorial Day, like the majority of our nation’s holidays, are no longer held with sanctity for too many people. It’s turned into another “gimme” holiday, this time asking parks & rec departments to “gimme your workers to clean up the mess we leave behind”, without a single thought some of these parks & rec workers are likely United States Veterans.
These are the same men and women who fought for your freedom to be an idiot. The least you can do is give ’em a break and show a little pride in being American by hiding your selfishness from being discarded on public beaches, park grass areas and floating in public swimming areas.