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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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
All photos DoD