It’s a simple story.
From the Los Angeles Times:
When Harold Jellicoe Percival died last month, the British World War II veteran’s obituary mentioned that he had no close family to attend his funeral. But after the obituary went viral, hundreds of people showed up to honor him Monday. Percival, who served as a member of the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command, died on Oct. 25 at the age of 99. His obituary requested that “any service personnel who can attend his funeral service would be appreciated.” It spread across social media brought it to the attention of service members and veterans organizations in Britain, They, in turn, rallied people to attend his funeral and honor his memory on Armistice Day.
There were reportedly 100 mourners in the church, and another 400 standing outside.
The ethical virtues demonstrated here are respect, gratitude, kindness, and citizenship. Somebody please explain this to Salon’s clueless, obnoxious, ungrateful and ethically, historically, logically and rhetorically-challenged writer Justin Doolittle, who argues that there is no reason to thank veterans for doing the dirty work of democracy and putting their lives on the line to protect his.
Doolittle tastefully chose Veterans Day to mock the concept that the armed services “protect our freedoms,” which is, if broadly stated, undeniably true. His essay makes the intellectually indefensible leap that asserting that citizens should be thankful for the military protecting the American way of life is the equivalent of holding that American freedoms exists at the pleasure of the U.S. military, which suggests that praise and gratitude empower the military to take our freedoms away whenever they choose. From that insulting, military and U.S. denigrating perspective, Doolittle goes on to argue that gratitude toward the military is an offensive partisan and political response. He years for the good old days of the Sixties, when people like John Kerry regarded our soldiers as murderers and monsters.
I considered deconstructing his offensive essay in detail, but frankly, neither it nor he are worth it, and res ipsa loquitur: the piece of garbage speaks for itself. Unable to fairly rebut the duty we all have to thank the men and women who, in Jack Nicholson’s apt words before he did himself in, “stand on that wall” risking life, limb, and future to do so, Doolittle keeps distorting the position he is arguing against into a straw man, that to thank veterans is to believe that “our entire existence as free people ….only exists at the whim of the U.S. military.” Who believes that? Who has ever claimed that? What those among us who are not ideologically-addled do recognize is that the U.S. military has saved the nation and its citizens many times from forces abroad that would end our freedoms. Doolittle even denies this:
“The “freedoms” most Americans think of when they hear the term are enshrined in constitutional and statutory law. They are in no way dependent on the size, scope or even the existence of the U.S. military. If John Lennon’s ghost assumed dictatorial control of the U.S. government tomorrow and, as his first order of business, disbanded the entire military, Americans’ “freedoms” would not suddenly vanish.”
Somebody please let this silly, ungrateful, vile man know that World War II was not fought against John Lennon’s ghost.
The mourners of Harold Percival seem to understand that.