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Posted by on Aug 23, 2015 in At TMV, Military, War | 4 comments

Military Weekend: ‘Patriotism’


TMV author Patricia Smith posted an excellent essay on “patriotism,” and readers waded in with equally excellent thoughts on this concept.

In my opinion, we saw a good example of patriotism — and heroism — in the brave actions by two American servicemen and an American civilian when all hell broke loose on a high-speed train on its way from Amsterdam to Paris.

To be accurate, while most everybody — including French president Francois Hollande and president Barack Obama — have been calling these men “heroes,” I have not yet seen the words “patriots” or “patriotism” used, but I’ll stick with it.

Of course, those who put their lives at risk in the U.S. military, especially in combat, are patriots.

But so are those who serve in non-combat missions and risk it all to perform a service to their fellow Americans.

Here are some recent examples:

The National Guardsmen and active duty servicemen and women, who are fighting the fires raging in the West and Northwest, or training to do so, are patriots.

firefighting training

Jay Karle, center right, a fire fighting crew leader, points out boundaries to troops during firefighting training near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., Aug. 20, 2015. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Porch.

California Guard Chinooks drop water on Northern California wildfires

A CH-47 Chinook helicopter suspends a bucket of water to douse a wildfire in Shasta County near Redding, Calif., Aug. 19, 2015. The helicopter, part of an effort to battle more than a dozen wildfires in California, is assigned to the California National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment.

The brave men and women from our Weather Reconnaissance Wing and Squadrons who literally fly into the eye of the storm — hurricane, in this case — to gather vital data about such storms to prevent the loss of life and property are patriots. Most recently we find them flying into Hurricane Danny in the Atlantic and into what could become hurricane Kilo in the Pacific.

Hurricane hunters prep.

Senior Airman Gerold Harbin, an aerospace propulsion journeyman, with the 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, works on a WC-130J engine before a 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron deployment to assist the Central Pacific Hurricane Center with weather reconnaissance missions in the Pacific Ocean Aug. 19, 2015. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Master Sgt. Brian Lamar)

Hurricane hinters

File photo of a WC-130J Hercules crew from the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron walking to their aircraft for a weather reconnaissance mission into Hurricane Sandy Oct. 29, 2012, at Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jason Robertson)

And while these men and women, and so many others, perform their patriotic duty, others continue to sustain injuries and make the ultimate sacrifice in so many places around the globe, especially in the Middle East. They are patriots, too.

455 EAES provides critical care in the air

U.S. airmen load injured troops onto a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft on the flightline at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2015. The airmen are assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group. The squadron’s airmen have the responsibility to evacuate sick and wounded personnel from U.S. Central Command to higher echelons of medical care. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford

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  • KP

    Patriotism is a good thing.

    You know it when you see it.

    “You” (anyone defining patriotism) is the operative word.

    We don’t all see 20/20.

    Laser in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) for myopia and astigmatism can help with that 20/20 thing.

    You can spend 4k to trade in long vision and then wear glasses all day at your computer. Or visa versa. Trade close vision at a cost of 4k for 20/15 long vision.

    OR, do one eye long // one eye short then let the brain sort it out after a 4k bill.

    Where the brain is concerned … there is a large (very large?) center of agreement in America about patriotism.

    Leave it to ideologues (not directed at you Dorian) to make the answer impossible to be consensual.

  • dduck12

    I wonder if the unnamed French guy that initially engaged the shooter is a patriot, and will he also get a medal, like the four other guys that then tackled the shooter. Doesn’t minimize the actions of the three Californians and one Brit, brave guys all.

    • KP

      This is what hit my head after “Whoa, wonderful”.

      He is the #1 hero as far as I can tell.

      HE … mobilized.

      Quite different than the fifty peeps in a carriage that huddled in a corner and watched recently while a man was stabbed forty times and killed.

      Man stepped off at the next stop.

      Only ONE person was needed to start a cascade.

      One person.

      Now boil this down to our neighborhoods. Little towns, medium towns, larger burrows in big cities. Each day, one person can change hundreds of lives.

      No need for me to wait for Hillary or Trump. I was a fool to think President Obama might be the one man.

      It’s local.

  • Excerpt from “The Pragmatics of Patriotism” by Robert Heinlein On 5 April 1973

    “Patriotism — An abstract word used to describe a type of behavior as harshly
    practical as good brakes and good tires. It means that you place the welfare of your nation ahead of your own even if it costs you your life.

    “Men who go down to the sea in ships have long had another way of expressing the same moral behavior tagged by the abstract expression “patriotism.” Spelled out in simple Anglo-Saxon words “Patriotism” reads ‘Women and children first!'”

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