Who the **** am I?!

Don’t believe everything you’ve been told; you’ve been lied to about everything. No conversation is too taboo for intellectual thought. No conversation is too good for a little humor either. Our understanding today does not dictate an absolute truth for our future so everything is up for grabs.

It is no measure of mental health to be well adjusted in a profoundly sick society

J. Krishnamurti

Background

Let me introduce myself…I’m Jane Q. Public. Just an ordinary girl in a not-so-ordinary world.

I am a military BRAT (Born Raised And Trained). Both of my parents were in the military (Dad – Air Force and Mom- Navy). My grandparents met and were married not long after meeting at the PX where my Papa went to get his stripes sewn on and she sewed every set of stripes from that day forward. I suppose you could say it was a generational thing for our family; hell, I can show you my relatives on the memorial wall at the Alamo.

Being a BRAT is a community within a community. Nobody understands BRATs like BRATs, I mean, how could they?! Life on base is not like anywhere else. The base was a world in and of itself with every resource you could possibly need, all wrapped up in a heavily guarded barbed wire topped wall with a giant government bow on top. It was foreign to me that other people have no idea what that’s like.

On base, we did most of the same things other people did; we rode our bikes through town from sun up to sun down. We came home when the street lights came on and we would catch fireflies after dinner. The only real difference, or so I thought, was that we moved around all the time.

When our school choir had a concert it was patriotic at its core. I learned the fight songs for all branches by 3rd grade. In 6th grade, we had a falconer come to the school to teach us about bald eagles- because ‘Merica. We knew to stop whatever we were doing and put our hands over our hearts the SECOND we heard the national anthem, taps, or reveille. When a war vet walked into the room, we ALL showed him/her respect.

There were cultures from all over the world represented on base. The commissary had provisions for all kinds of cuisine from around the world. We appreciated the beauty of other cultures and we were ALL Americans. If there was ever an obvious division it was that Officers lived on one side of the base and Enlisted lived on the other. But we all shopped the same Commissary, the same BX/PX, the same uniform shops. We all played at the same rec center, swam in the same pool, and went to the same school. We were ALL Americans and we all bleed red (though it’s rumored that some of the Seals bleed green).

When Desert Storm/Desert Shield hit, the entire base was one hive of like minded people working to secure America and Americans. The school organized a goodbye show for the parents leaving, the parents of the PTA organized a bake sale (no idea what the money was for), we all tied yellow ribbons around the base, and we all put flags in the ground (and just about anywhere else we could fit one). We made our signs and had a big send off party. But the next morning, dad got up extra early, kissed us, and left. We didn’t know if we would ever see him again, how long he would be gone; hell, we didn’t even know really where he was going.

This was normal for me and the civilians were the strange ones. It was strange to see people who actually spoke negatively about other races/religions/creeds/etc. because nobody I was ever around talked that way. When a culture was talked about, it was with the utmost respect and adoration.

When America was spoken of, it was with adoration and respect. The very IDEA of disrespecting the flag was absolutely not tolerated. We were taught that the flag was a representation of the men & women who died for it and were buried under it. It was a representation of the courage and honor of those who said “enough is enough” and fight for their freedom, for our freedom.

We were taught that the flag was a symbol of how great we COULD be for as long as we were a nation united. We banned together with limited resources in comparison to our enemy and out of pure will, determination, and true grit to overcome an oppressor.

As enemy fire rained down from the seas, the flag kept standing and in the brief moment of collapse, the flag was raised again, renewing the sense of importance, reviving the taste of freedom for every man on the field. It was a reminder of who and what they were fighting for. Those men and women did that for themselves, for their families, and for every generation to come.

Somewhere along the line, we lost that love of country. We forgot how much blood was spilled so that we could have liberty. We allowed our representatives to become our leaders; our leaders to become our idols; and we gave those idols power.

As the old attage goes- “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. We are a nation of patriots being ruled by a corrupt power that has many names and many faces but only one goal- to make US subservient. We cannot let them win.

“Give me liberty or give me death”