I am of Irish/Polish/Wappinger Indian descent; Raised in a Traditional Family where; God, Family, Country and Others were respected. My Grandmother, Elizabeth, migrated from Poland in 1901. And thing about Her I remember is when ever her Grands tried to speak either of our Languages (I was Fluent in all 3) in public, she would Say; You’re an a American, Speak the Language of your County in Public and if your want, you can speak any language at home or if needed to help others, who might not know English yet.
Growing up in a Small Town (Back then Beacon was small), we respected not only our family, but Our teachers, Those in Authority (Yes the Police Officer, walking the Beat or Patrolling in their Vehicle), our Elders, those owning the small stores, and Just Everyone. We were taught to Respect others as we wanted our Grandparents and Parents to be respected. Where is this principle GO?
Many of us, went to a Place where, we lived and died together. Yest there were Problems in the Military back then, however, we learned how to live with people. If you ever, had bullets, Rockets or a person trying to stick a bayonet in you, your spoke to your Maker; No matter what your called him (God, Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha, or whoever); There are no Atheists in Combat. We were scared, and at times we cried along with our Buddies when they got hit or killed. Who gave a --- what race, color, nationality or religion they were; they were and yes, still our our Brothers/Sisters.
Yes, we supported the Law Enforcement Officers, we learned they did try to treat all with respect, and yes we learned that there were some, like now, who could Not Do their Duties in a Respectful Matter. How Ever, We Must not take the Law into our hands by destroying private property and places of Worship. Just how does destroying a Mosque, a Synagogue, Church or any place of Worship. While in the Service, I had the Opportunity to meet and talk to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; he did not hate me and I did not hate him. He would be totally dismayed and disgusted with the evens going on now. He would attempt and try to bring all together and work to solve the problem, not create more by being jerks.
Thus, I request, that we all, step back, take a DEEP breath, get together and resolve the problems facing America, and return: RESPECT, UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION to all.
Dennis P. Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald is commander of the American Legion’s First District in Georgia.