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New Kid's View

Family lured Jerrianne and her husband to South Milwaukee in 2002 from Southern California where she worked as, first, a journalist, then, as a court information officer. She now stays busy with media-relations consulting, playing with her three grandchildren (part of the lure), writing, discovering her new environs, and hoping her garden will produce before the first fall frost.

Dishonoring the Uniform

Commander-in-Chief, Ft. Hood, military veterans, National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, President Barack Obama, propaganda, U.S. Air Force

A despicable email with the subject, “ I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS...... A Must See !” is flying around cyberspace, primarily, from the looks of it, among military veterans. That’s how it ended up in the inbox of my husband, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. It was forwarded by a friend of his and included some of their mutual acquaintances as other recipients.
 
The email contained a photograph of five men standing on a dais. Three are military officers – Navy, Army and Air Force – who are saluting. One is a civilian whose right hand is over his heart. The other is President Barack Obama, whose hands are in front of him with his fingers intertwined.
 
The text of the email says:
 
“Every veteran should be especially offended!!
 
 The Crotch Salute!!!!!   by guess who?????
 At the Ft. Hood Memorial Service...
The Crotch Salute Returns

[]

I am sorry folks, but is this the jerk that was elected President of our country? You know, the United States of America .
I do believe that saluting the flag goes with that, as does respecting and honoring the service members who have died.
Does this pompous ass believe he is above that gesture? If not a salute, how about a hand over the heart like the other guy? He can shower us all with flowery words (via teleprompter) and dazzle us with his bull shit, but actions speak louder. He has no idea about patriotism or respect.
EVERYONE needs to see this Pic! How in the hell does he get away with this....How does the Military and our Armed Forces have any respect for this guy ???”

The person who forwarded the email to my husband and the other recipients wrote:

“Guys,

Hope this doesn't go on much longer!”

My husband was indeed highly offended, in fact, outraged – but not by the photograph or what the email sender wanted recipients to think was offensive. He was outraged by the email writer’s distortion, false portrayal of President Obama, and his attempt to misinform and to spread such vile propaganda. He was even more outraged that the sender was using military veterans as the vehicle to spew such hate mongering.

It took my husband a while to fashion a reply. It also took a lot of soul searching, because he knew his reply could very possibly cost him friendships.

This is what he wrote:

“Guys,
 
To quote a popular saying, ‘Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but not entitled to their own facts.’
 
I have sent access to information below in viewable video, which I have watched for myself, that refutes the 'crotch salute' nonsense. Every honorably serving veteran should be offended that their service is in any way referenced by this remarkably ignorant, shamelessly false flag waver.
 
The ‘hand over the heart’ issue is less clear cut, but in the vein of the ‘crotch salute’ its intent appears to be racist-level put down. My life teaching as a civilian has been to stand (hat off) and sing the National Anthem and face the flag with hand over heart for the Pledge of Allegiance. The obvious reason for the hand over heart is in the first lines, ‘I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America’. For the National Anthem, I and others do not pledge anything to the song. We stand in respect, most managing to take hats off. The millions at sporting events are not all visibly hand over heart and most usually can't make it to the end of the National Anthem before yelling for their team. Should they be called out for their behavior? Are they unpatriotic? I don't think so.
 
As in the heading of this message... I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS, I can't believe that there is not a discernable difference between not liking an individual and spreading provably false information about them. And that intelligent professional individuals grasp onto bogus information from erstwhile political sources that would never pass a credibility check in any other part of their lives. With me, shared political views is not a requirement for friendship. Like you, I'm a veteran who believes in sometimes jumping on the bandwagon for the dignity of military honors, the flag and our country, but there must be care to see that the lead vehicle selected to represent our views in the procession is a well-decorated float, not a garbage truck.
 
Best wishes.”
 
My husband added these two website links that include the photograph and explanations of what President Obama was attending (not Ft. Hood ceremony), and what was going on (neither the playing of the National Anthem nor the recitation of the Pledge to the Flag).
 
1. snopes.com: Barack Obama at Arlington on Veterans Day ••• 
Photograph shows President Obama during a 2009 Veterans Day ceremony?
...or the Flag is going by, or WHAT, but EVERYBODY in the picture is either
 saluting or has his hand over the HEART. All except ONE. Guess who. I do...
...because it would be inappropriate for him to be engaged in a gesture of
 saluting himself. (Department of Defense instructions state that "During all...
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 11:32:44 GMT
 http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/photos/veteransday.asp 

2. snopes.com: Barack Obama and the National Anthem ••• 
Barack Obama does not place his hand over his heart when the U.S. national anthem is played?
Wed, 15 Aug 2012 11:24:08 GMT
 http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/anthem.asp “
   
Two thoughts came to my mind about the individuals whose names were on the email my husband received.
1.     I know that all were officers when they were in the military and I find calling the person who is serving as President of the United States and the military services' Commander-in-Chief a “jerk” and a “pompous ass” very much to be conduct unbecoming an officer.
2.   I also know that the only reason all of them ever wore the uniform of this country is because they were about to be drafted into the military (we’re talking the 1960s) and took the Air Force officer route to avoid becoming Army draftees (or as they would say, "grunts"), and that all of them served the minimum number of years required then got out to become highly successful businessmen. So I do look askance at their now, more than 45 years later, assuming their uber-patriotic flag-waving military-veteran mantles in their attempt to call out the President – and using such a bogus way of trying to do so.

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