Half-Assed Support For Troops On The Rise
Denny Farriday of Spokane, Wash., bought a pair of red, white and blue bows at the checkout of the local Stop And Save the other day, and would have hung them on his porch, but his college buddy Kenny, who he hasn't talked to since Christmas, called just when he was walking in.
Debby Fellesini of Bethlehem, Penn., bought one of those yellow Support Our Troops ribbons at a Walgreen's and slapped it on the back of her minivan, where it remained for six hours before her four year-old-son, Harrison, removed it, took it to his room and dropped it in his gerbil cage.
All across America this Memorial Day, people are increasingly taking seconds out of their busy lives to kind of think about the troops who were cut down in the prime of their lives in often senseless, poorly defined military operations in the name of preserving democracy and the American way of life. Sometimes they even show it with actions.
Michelle Kinderson of Macon, Ga., took her hat off on the way to getting her nails done as a car with an American flag flying from its antenna drove past. Bill Sompers of Camden, N.J., made a point of taking his family to eat at the All American Diner on Elm Place, even though it was three miles from the place they usually eat and a cheeseburger costs 80 cents more.
"Sometimes you have to show you've got that spirit," said Sompers, who added that he also takes his kids to a local Army-Navy store on Memorial Day to buy fishing gear instead of Wal-Mart.
Craig Fogel of Queens, NY, wanted to display an American flag on his front porch but couldn't find one, and couldn't get out of the house because he was watching his annoying little brother, so he placed Bruce Springsteen's "Born In The USA" album cover in his living room window. "It's got the flag right on it," said Fogel.
With conflicts still raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans today are feeling somewhat more guilty when they take for granted the freedoms of expression and religion and unparalleled civil liberties paid for with the blood of our service members, or fail to aknowledge the freedom from foreign security threats because of the sacrifices of our volunteer forces overseas, said Ronald Baigly, director of the Center for the Study of American Patriotism in Waltham, Mass.
"Ten years ago, 47.8 percent of people said they felt bad that Memorial Day was essentially a day to get some errands done and overindulge in beer and hambugers," said Baigly. "With education and more servicemen coming home from the war, that number today is 49.6 percent."