It’s official. I’m a curmudgeon.
I just watched President Obama laying the wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. And all I could think is, “THIS is why America is going to hell in a hand basket. This is why the world laughs at us.”
People don’t know how to act right in public anymore. I couldn’t help but notice the behavior of the crowd behind the president. While the national anthem played, our president held his hand over his heart, the soldiers held salutes and all of them wore properly solemn expressions on their faces. The majority of the Joe Schmoes in the stands behind them were in sharp contrast, just standing there, fidgeting. I guess I should be glad they were at least standing up — I’ve noticed at sports events, half the people sit and talk while the anthem plays.
Today, only a few had their right hand placed over their heart. Most were filming with their iPhones. Men wearing ball caps didn’t bother to take them off. Several people were fanning themselves, which really griped me because the Marines were out there baking in the sun in their heavy black dress uniforms and these people couldn’t be respectful and stand still for the 90 seconds or so it took for the anthem to play?
Have we really devolved into such a casual society that we can’t even give a couple minutes’ respect to the memories of the soldiers who paid the ultimate price for our liberty?
That is pathetic.
And then…THEN…the same behavior continued through the playing of Taps. I’m sitting on my bed watching this with my eyes tearing up (and my mind going back to the soldier’s funeral I attended several years ago, which I touched on here) while my moronic countrymen are still fanning, fidgeting, videoing.
What kind of soulless jerk do you have to be to act a fool during Taps?
Shame on them. Shame on you if you’re an American reading this and you behave that way (or allow your children to) during what should be solemn moments.
Look, here’s a memo to all Americans: There’s nothing wrong with solemnity. Not a thing wrong with being subdued, or not capturing every moment in life on camera. Every moment of life in this nation doesn’t have to look like a frat party.
One of the greatest ironies of our society is that we sing and talk about respect all the time. But so few of us actually behave respectfully when it’s proper to.
I don’t know that I’ve ever simultaneously felt so much pride and shame as I did today while watching that ceremony.
Memorial Day: It’s not National BBQ Day, contrary to popular belief.