With gratitude for those who instill in us our sense of pride and patriotism
Patriotism is defined as “devoted love, support, and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.”
Where do we get patriotism? How is it instilled in us? How does it grow? Many of us have had grandparents or parents who have served our country in times of war and conflict such as the “great wars” — World War I and World War II — their patriotism undoubtedly grew on the battlefield, on the beaches of Normandy, at Pearl Harbor, Quadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Berlin, or as they rescued the survivors of Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald or any of the other many concentration camps.
Many of us have relatives and friends who have demonstrated their patriotism while serving in conflicts overseas in places such as Korea, Vietnam, Iran, The Persian Gulf, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Sudan, Syria or scores of other locations throughout the world where our servicemen and women have been called through the years to serve and, in some cases, are still serving.
Varsity employee John McAtee says:
“I love America. I am a Patriot. Why? I have not served in the military or a national service corp of any kind. Where did my patriotism come from?
I remember as a kid, growing up in a small town in Indiana having wonderful feelings of pride and belonging as soldiers marched by in our annual Independence Day parade, and as the big military vehicles carrying local veterans drove by. Perhaps to some degree those patriotic feelings in me, in each American, is innate, something that is instilled in us from birth, growing up in this free land.
He served in Germany during World War II. He was serving in a cooking unit far away from the front when he received word that his elderly father back in the states had passed away. After receiving that news he and his best buddy, Charles Oiler, decided they “didn’t sign up to bake bread” and enlisted to go to the front.
They were sent to different units. Charles did not survive. (Keeping the promise they made to each other when they parted, a few years later, after the war, my dad tracked down Mr. Oiler’s family to convey their son & brother’s love for them, expressed to my dad the last time they saw each other).
My father was assigned to a unit stationed right at the front and within just a few days they sought refuge under a bridge and came under attack from German Panzer Tanks. My dad was wounded and lost consciousness. When he awoke, the fighting had passed over him and the arm of his jacket was missing and his arm was severely damaged. He spent a month in a Paris hospital recouping before returning to the front where he completed his term without further injuries (though he was captured once for a short time but subsequently rescued by allied forces). For his injuries he was awarded a Purple Heart awarded to members of the armed forces of the U.S. who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy.
Obviously, my father’s service and legacy plays a huge role in magnifying my feelings of patriotism. Before he passed away, at 92, my dad would forget some things once in awhile, but his memories of the war seemed to never fade. Those of us who have never endured the atrocities and sufferings of war, can never fully imagine what our veterans have endured.
We have living in our midst, thousands of heroic and courageous women and men who have sacrificed their lives in protection of our freedoms. We owe them a huge debt of gratitude that mere words in a blog post cannot convey. They deserve our utmost respect and deference.
With this in mind, I am grateful to work for a company that on this Veteran’s Day, 11 November, 2014, has instituted a Veteran’s Employment Initiative. Varsity has personally met with the VA Employment Team in Atlanta, Georgia and Tampa, Florida where the program will be piloted. After that, the plan is to get the program estabished in Houston and Austin, Texas. After implementation in those areas, the program will move to other locations throughout the country.”
“Today the guns are silent. A great tragedy has ended. A great victory has been won. The skies no longer rain with death — the seas bear only commerce — men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight. The entire world lies quietly at peace.”
“Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”