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Sunday, November 11, 2012


"In later years,"wrote Gore Vidal,
"President Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, Alice Longworth, congratulated me every time we saw each other:
"You got out. So wise."

 "Reflections on Glory Reflected,"
-- Gore Vidal, in United States: Essays 1952-1992
"Half of the American people have never read a newspaper," once wrote Vidal. "Half never voted for president. One hopes it is the same half."
For writers, Gore Vidal wrote:
"Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn,"
"On the American Dead in Spain"
The dead sleep cold in Spain tonight. Snow blows through the olive groves, sifting against the tree roots. Snow drifts over the mounds with small headboards.
(When there was time for headboards.)
For our dead are a part of the earth of Spain now and the earth of Spain can never die.
Each winter it will seem to die and each spring it will come alive again. Our dead will live with it forever.

I feel like I've never had a home, you know?
I have traveled around so much that I feel related to the country,
 to all of America really. 
Not that I was blind to her thousand and one faults. 
She was an ocean of bones from sea to shining sea in whose depths a million victims were buried. 
But her beauty without Man spoiling it took my breath away.
And sometimes you ran into heroes unawares:
the single mother working as a waitress
into the long hours of the night,
the Vet who ran a gym for troubled kids,
the grandmother taking care of the children of her uncaring daughter who had broken her heart
but not broken beyond loving lonely children in need. 

Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts.

None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States. When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.

When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.
What do you think we memorialize on this day?



  1. All of that and the men and women who have fought to maintain our freedoms and ability to help others.

  2. Well said, it is a great country we live in and I'm honored to have been born and raised here. To those who have served, thank you.

  3. Alex:
    I believe the world has grown used to an America that cares and helps and yes, sometimes butts her nose in when others would have us not to. Without America, the world would be a colder place.

    America is a fine country, and I, too, am proud to be American.

  4. We should always honour the ones who fight for our freedom. Most of us have family or know of someone who has served in the armed forces in either Canada or the US.

    Do either of these countries treat their veterans or repeat volunteers the way they should be treated when they need help? I have my doubts.

    Perhaps that will improve.

  5. D.G.:
    War is such a terrible experience to go through for just everyday men and women who felt it their duty to enlist.

    No one who has not seen battle and death up close truly understands the trauma of surviving.

    We can only hope that both countries grow in maturity to deal better with our veterans.

    Thanks for visiting as you do. It means a lot, Roland

  6. Hi Roland .. great post - I watched our British Legion Festival of Remembrance and the Cenotaph Service yesterday and thought of much .. my mother, her family and things I've learnt, sacrifice for others, bereavement, subsequent disability - the need for care and advocacy .. the need for awareness and appreciation of others.

    With thoughts to all who help people who need help .. Hilary

  7. No matter where I live, I will always be an American and proud of it. Nice post Roland.

  8. Hilary:
    We forget so quickly the sacrifices of those who can never forget the consequences of standing in the gap. All of us are soldiers in sometimes very private wars that none but us see. My Stetson is off to you for your devotion to your mother.

    And unlike that famous book title, you are the LOVELY AMERICAN. Thanks for the kind words. :-)

  9. Roland, I want to say in defense of France that without them, we would not have had a successful revolution against the British. I know that is a long time ago, but they are our ally. Just like we have in our nation right now, there are people that do not agree with each other and who do not like each other. But that doesn't mean that the whole country is bad or that they wouldn't be there when times really get tough.

    Right now our economy sucks. But it's better than just about any other economy out there right now.

    Veterans are wonderful people. I work with the wounded ones every day as part of my job.

    And I dream of a world where all of us can get along and be kind to each other. And where no one is denied human rights.