Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Of honor...and ignorance

The Scales
(by R.P.Edwards)

The hero stood
Before the scales
The nation sought
His weight
On one side, "Champion!"
Honor's child
The other?
A traitor's fate
His trophies nudged the needle
A moment, "Champion's" way
But his selfish, shameful, service since
Traitor's pay

"I'm a veteran myself," says I. "But not a real one like you." The older gent (accompanied by his wife) smiled and then drove slowly off the lot.

That was a while back.  Our church wanted to honor veterans, so a "thank you" dinner had been planned for November 11, along with some non-threatening words to go with the grub. Hoping to bolster the numbers I had decided to visit a few of the "halls" to pass out invitations.  The gentleman above had come from the local VFW. My next stop was the Amvets and, after that, the American Legion hall.  And, since a few years ago I had learned the difference between the various veteran hang-outs; that had prompted my self-deprecating comment.  Sure, I was a vet; but I was more of a place-holder; no war, no action; just immature me in my younger (much) days.  Indeed, the greatest battle of my then life was in trying to grow up (still ongoing) and my greatest "victory" was, without question, when I surrendered to Jesus Christ.

Anyway, I've been contemplating the whole "hero" thing. The pedestal thing. The bestowing of honor thing. And, I must conclude, that like many I have a tendency to broad-brush, lump together, view through spectacles of rose.  And, in the broadest sense, I suppose this is benign, acceptable, expected; but for the individual "honorees;" the "I actually know thems"; well, perhaps a higher standard needs to be applied.

You see, whether you're a "hero" because of your self-sacrifice in the military service; or a "notable" because you were or are a wiz at some aspect of sports (think Penn State), what you "are" out of the foxhole, and out of the spotlight, determines if the "honor" should be specifically placed...on you.  

And so, when it comes to, say, an abortionist who also happens to be a member of the VFW, or an army retiree who relishes his open adulterous lifestyle, or an exceptional elevator of points and percentages who moonlights as a molester, do I split my decision; do I offer partial gratitude for a past performance, and play down the current despicable state? Or do I--and I definitely lean this way--say, "Your shameful lack of character nullifies any recognition real heroes are due."

Now, don't get me wrong; I am well aware that "all have sinned" is stamped on our human DNA and, O, thank God for the second and third chances allotted by the Creator to those willing to actually repent; but the issue is heroes, and the honoring of the same.  And, when protesters are more interested in the loss of athletic prowess, or unabashed moral slime-balls receive a thank-you for their veteran status;'s disturbing.

So, as the title infers, perhaps "ignorance" is the salve needed to soothe our hero-hunting eyes.  But, if unrepentant shameful actions come to light, then let "us" at least show some character, and turn our eyes...away.



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