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DOCUMENTS


The Tentacle


November 10, 2015

Patriotism is Not a Cash Sport

Harry M. Covert

In advance of tomorrow’s Veterans Day celebration, especially in Frederick, and Sunday’s activities in Walkersville and Brunswick, the plan was to extoll the virtues of all the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and auxiliarists who have protected the nation.

 

In fact the idea was to compile a list of all the heroes locally. They are truly easy to find, but most of them prefer not to talk about their military derring-do because they are not publicity seekers. They are indeed patriots who did their duty.

 

There is no need to list all of the men and women who have made and continue to make the world safe. One day perhaps that will occur. They are not forgotten though. The stories are awesome, personal and worth historical remembering.

 

Lots of people will be wearing poppies and various hats in commemoration of their honored service. Frederick’s Memorial Park will be a privileged place tomorrow.

 

The story broke recently that all of the patriotic fervor by the professional sports teams, baseball, football, basketball, et al, truly was a cash deal. Other organizations attempting to encourage national interest, wearing pink to battle breast cancer, were also caught up with the sporting commitment of good deeds.

 

It was exciting to see the fighter jets flying over stadiums, snappily uniformed men and women of all services parading on the playing fields, flags flying and all sorts of plaques and honors bestowed.

 

Who in the world would disagree with such showing of loyalty and nationalism? These festivities lifted the pride and spirit of every citizen, sports fan and parents of serving offspring.

 

Smack in the middle of the disastrous help for veterans, lacking of medical and financial assistance, the announcement comes that the billionaire sports teams were paid millions of dollars for their patriotism. Think for a moment of those wounded warriors, those men and women who suffer from devastating war wounds and their private thoughts about a grateful nation.

 

By all rights this story and other stories today should be identifying heroes and heroines. It is no fun commenting on the money the government, in the form of the Defense Department, exhibits no shame in paying for accolades.

 

Just listen to the television, radio and print people use the word “great, greatest and incredible” describing the athletic prowess of the professional competitors.

 

Yes, the nation is a bit gaga over sporting achievements, records, which beat who or who did or did not achieve or the names of teams. This list of never ending “supposed good stuff” is miserable.

 

Think of the emotionally spent men and women today attempting to rebuild their lives after losing limbs, eye sights, families and all sorts of other infirmities while the business of business on the athletic fields grows and grows.

 

There is no shame from the pro leagues because they are money makers. According to Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, the Pentagon spent $53 million on marketing and advertising contracts with sports teams between 2012 and 2015, $10 million of which went to clubs in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and major league soccer.

 

Somehow the value system is out of kilter big time. Where is the conscience when that veteran can’t get into a VA hospital or see a VA doctor immediately?

 

And, national figures in government, the media and politics feign ignorance and don’t have a clue as to why Americans are “mad as h--l.” All right, let’s spell it out – “mad as hell.”

 

 The next time a pro sports executive decides to cash in on the nation’s veterans and patriotism – heroes – they should have to visit the military hospitals and have a good look at those wounded men and women.

 

The next time sports fans go to a game and spend $10 for a beer, $7.50 for a hot dog and other exorbitant concessions or tickets, think about the limbless, blinded and infirm veterans.

 

Let’s laugh, guffaw and chuckle when our favorite player gets a $210 million contract, or the commissioner of the NFL gets a raise from a $43 million yearly salary.

 

It is not funny when that soldier or sailor or Marine or other veterans suffers and can’t get immediate help for pain, family matters, and financial troubles.

 

Patriotism priorities must be real, not for sale. If anything the money-grabbing sports leagues leave a lot to be desired. And the Pentagon apparently needs a kick in the head.

 

hmcovert@gmail.com

 



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