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DAY FOR DECISION (Allen N. Peltier) Johnny Sea Narrative: The other day I heard someone say, "You know, America is in real trouble." It's true. Old Glory has never fallen so close to the earth . Our embassies are being stoned. Our diplomats are often in fear for their lives. And we're involved in a half-dozen nameless, winless conflicts spilling American blood on foreign soil. Our young men are dying for ideals that don't seem to mean too much to Americans anymore. The truth is America's real trouble doesn't lie in the rice paddies of Vietnam, in the masses of Red China, or in the diabolical intrigues to the south of us. The real trouble lies in the playgrounds of St. Louis, the hillside mansions of San Francisco, and in the slums of Chicago. A disease which is slowly eating away at the heart of America lives in the small southern towns, the fishing villages of New England, and in the hot dusty streets of the midwest. This is the age of the American cynic. The year of the unbeliever. The day of doubt. We've killed all the sacred cows and destroyed all the images. And there's nothing left to respect. Old fashioned love of God, country, and family is passe. We stare at our shoelaces when they play the national anthem. We wouldn't want to be seen at a political rally or a town hall meeting. And we don't want to be caught with our eyes closed during public prayers. We've decided the only way to get into public office is to buy it. Our heroes are the fast guys who get away with things. Patriotism, the old hand-over-the-heart, flag-waving singing patriotism has been condemned. Think about this. Patriotism. When you tear away the fancy phrases and crepe paper, it's plain and simple pride. It's a new car-prettier girl-bigger house sort of pride in country. Somewhere along the way we've lost it. Our form of government is the same. We still say America stands for the same things. But next time you're at a party, ask someone to sing "American the Beautiful", and see what happens. The basic ideals and structure of America haven't changed. We have. You and me. Our enemies know it. They've seen the newsreels of the discontented marching around the capitol. They've distorted and blown up our mistakes. They've been putting steel wedges in the cracks in our wall of solidarity. The new idea is: Don't attack America; wear it down gradually; it'll eventually fall under the weight of its own corruption. And did you know, it's working? This sneering complacency, once stamped out by the bloody feet of a tattered Continental Army in 1776, once drowned beneath the keel of the U.S.S. Arizona in Pearl Harbor Bay, has risen again. This deadly "Let George do it" attitude lights the way for the Viet Cong in the swampy jungles of Vietnam. This "Better red than dead" cancer is more feared by the American soldier than all the communist mortar shells. It kills the vitality and spirit of America. Democracy is a frail and fragile instrument. Made of hope, prayer, and Yankee ingenuity. It is held together by a fourth-of-July flag-waving patriotism. And we've almost exhausted our supply of it. Try this test. Lift your eyes to a flag, then sing out as loud as you can that old out-worn antiquated freedom hymn you learned so many years ago: For purple mountain majesties (for purple mountain majesties) Above the fruited plain (above the fruited plain) America (America) America (America) God shed His grace on thee (God shed His grace on thee) Now if you feel a little pride welling up inside of you, if you feel a little mist in your eye, then, thank God for you, mister, you're still an American! (America, America, God shed His grace on thee And crown thy good with brotherhood From sea to shining sea)


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