Thanks to Veterans

Mr. Midtown Republican recently became interested in family genealogy. He looked up info on his family and mine and came up with some very interesting info.

For instance, he found this picture of my grandfather, uncle, dad and grandmother. It’s dated 1943.

George Vagen (second from right)
My father is second from right.

My dad was just 17 and he had joined the Merchant Marines. He did not want to go in the army and did not see well enough for the Navy. Maybe it was a Greek thing. His father was an immigrant from there and being from an island reflected their love affair with the sea. Perhaps that prompted him to join the Merchant Marines. It was not an easy branch of the service. Plying the Atlantic to transport goods made Merchant Marine ships the number one target of German subs.

This picture was taken before he left. The family probably wanted a family photo in case the unthinkable happened. They all look pretty grim. Afterwards my grandfather suffered a heart attack from the stress of it.

I had not seen this picture before. It was found on an Australian website of a long lost relative. What a shock to see my dad and his family pop up on my laptop as out of nowhere almost 70 years since it was taken.

Dad survived and lived to be 77.

In doing this research my husband commented on how difficult life was for our forebears. They survived the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, First World War, World War II. They survived the death of children, epidemics, economic depressions, loss of parents.

They fought hard to build this country and sacrificed, as our veterans did, heroically and willingly to build this country.

Now we have let them down. We as a nation have wanted to live comfortably. We haven’t wanted to believe that threats to our existence and evil exist. In fact, the greatest evil we see is that someone might take away the right to an abortion, trim our welfare checks, make us pay for contraceptives, deny gay people the right to do what no other civilization has ever acknowledged – marry.

These are what we have decided matter. Not freedom. Not excellence. Not sovereignty. Our ancestors would have walked away from a society like this and they did.

Our young people have lost touch with the immigrant experience. They didn’t grow up hearing stories about grandpa only knowing two words in English: work and yes. They assume they will get complete orthodontic care. They expect a college education at the best your money can buy. They feel entitled to a car as a teenager. They expect a job waiting for them when they graduate. They expect the United States does not need any protecting and scoff at the idea it does. They don’t understand how to handle money. A credit card will take care of your needs, won’t it?

No wonder we find ourselves stuck with a terrible president like Barack Obama.

Our ancestors knew true intolerance, true oppression, true poverty. They knew everything can be taken away quickly and a country can unravel in a frighteningly fast way. They knew we must be vigilant and they were willing to be.

Will we return to those days? Can the minority of us who understand this turn the tide?

We’re about to find out.

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