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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Obama, the "Coffee Salute" and Washington

I registered for the draft in 1973, received my 1-A draft status.  Despite my lottery number somewhere in the 40s, I was never called up and did not serve.  Nonetheless, I had and continue to have respect for those who not only served, but were called into combat.  Significantly, those who serve follow orders--which have the force of law--and put their lives at risk based on the word of a superior officer.

Those who fought in the Revolution are mainly anonymous today, but followed the same obedience to orders of officers.  Indeed, there were times when Revolutionary War generals posted men at the rear with orders to shoot any soldiers who tried to run away during battle.  We find the veterans of that war throughout many churchyards up and down the East Coast, such as this grave of Matthew Reed at the St. Paul's burial ground in Norwalk, Connecticut:

With these thoughts in mind I was appalled at the cavalier treatment the current president of the United States, Barack Obama, gave to the two Marines saluting at the foot of Marine 1.  Descending the stairs, Obama gave a casual, dismissive "salute" by raising his coffee cup at the saluting Marines.  Meanwhile, we have been treated to many "public service announcements" by Michelle Obama and Jill Biden about how we need to honor our troops and veterans.  Obama might actually listen to the words those two are mouthing and show some modicum of respect.  He is the commander-in-chief and ought to understand the gravity of what that means.  Gestures are not just gestures; they are reflective of the core beliefs of someone.  For all his faults and restrained arrogance, you would not have found George Washington being so dismissive of his troops.

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