A question for the older people on this site

I recall when I was very young there was a patriotism that was almost religious in its fervor that encompassed almost all of America. We were the shining castle on the hill. I’ve heard other older guys mention it. One of them said, “You got it from all directions.” Do any of the older people on this site remember this, or was it just the result of an overactive imagination of a kid?

2 Likes

I remember during the Vietnam War a lot of people did not feel patriotic. There was a strong feeling of patriotism but people were really questioning America and its values and a lot of people were wondering what we were doing in Vietnam. A lot of young people at the time were kind of against patriotism. And Iraq and Afghanistan were unpopular wars too though the country was behind the soldiers fighting it. I think during the Iraqi war was when I saw the strongest good feelings towards soldiers since I was born in 1961. Just 5 or 6 years ago, if you talked to a soldier, like if you ran into one in a grocery store or wherever, it was almost automatic to thank him for his service. You don’t see that much anymore.

4 Likes

I’m 45. When I was a kid we were very patriotic

3 Likes

I’m 63 years old. When I was a kid in the first grade, a real person would blow Reveille on a bugle, everyone stood, put you hand across your heart, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. It’s not like it was in the old days. This was a public school I would add.

5 Likes

I’m 62. I grew up on U.S. military territory. In school, we said the Pledge of Allegiance, facing our flag, with hand over our heart, every single morning. And we followed that with singing our National Anthem every morning as well.

That was contrasted with scenes of teenage and college kids on the news marching in the streets, burning our flag in protest against a war that our fathers were fighting in and risking their lives over.

2 Likes

It is impossible to say how badly that war shook our confidence. At the beginning of the U.S. involvement people did support it. There really was a “silent majority” that supported the war. But things kept going downhill, for a number of reasons. By the time the last American troops were leaving people had had enough of that war.

In the very beginning of U.S. involvement it was a war between the U.S. Special Forces and the Viet Cong. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we didn’t bring in our regulars and kept the war a guerilla war against the NVA troops. There is no telling. At the very least we could have caused a lot of headaches for the North Vietnamese. We might have even won the war like that, but I don’t know what we would have won if we did do that. I think the best approach would have been to leave them alone and let them solve their own problems. A lot of the Asian economies are turning into economic powerhouses. I don’t know why we were so dense that we just couldn’t leave them alone. I remember this scene in the movie “Platoon” where the main character is shooting around the feet of this one legged Vietnamese man, and he is yelling “Why don’t you understand?” That picture is more common than you might think. It’s a picture of a man beating on a helpless man or beast and yelling “Why don’t you understand?” To the people on the receiving end of that we must have looked like monsters.

I said a pledge of allegiance to the US and to the republic for which it stands every morning in 7th grade! This in the 1950’s!

I was raised in the sixties by my grandparents…my grandpa always had a flag in the yard, and we always said the pledge of allegiance every morning in elementary school…I wasn’t much of a patriot…but my grandparents were.

1 Like

I’ve come to be a little wary of patriotism because of the negative consequences it can have, but I’m sure patriotism can have positive consequences too. What I believe in is the system of checks and balances that keeps everybody in line. That is kind of a milk toast view of the world, but I believe that is the only way humanity can survive in a world full of weapons of mass destruction. That doesn’t give you much reason to toss your cap up in the air and yell, “hurrah”. It doesn’t lend itself to staging great parades marching down Main Street. What would you yell? “My country is the least awful country in the world?” But I think there are good reasons for us to always be reluctant in getting into wars. War is so unpredictable, but once you make the decision to fight you had better do it well.

1 Like

There’s a reason why people that are centenarians today are called the Greatest Generation.

My stepfather, who is paying my rent, turned 100 on Jun 16.

2 Likes

Wow! I hope you got his jeans.

I remember reciting the pledge of allegiance and sparklers on the 4th of July. That’s about as patriotic that I got. Also my stepmother was a girl scout leader and wouldn’t let anyone let a flag touch the ground.

In the city I live in, on a daily basis, I see vets in wheel chairs, legs blown off defending our country
And nobody ever acknowledges it
Just another nuisance on the bus
Really its a sad state of affairs

1 Like