Gratitude In Short Supply . . .

One of the news stories coming from President Trump’s recent trip to China dealt with the three American athletes who had been apprehended by the Chinese authorities for shoplifting from two or three stores in China. By the time the President was in China, the three young men were on house arrest and facing the possibility of ten years in prison for their crime. President Trump appealed to the President of China on their behalf and within a day of discussion, the three young men were on a plane home.

Although each of the three athletes thanked President Trump in their news conference, to me, it sounded rather robotic and insincere. Since the public ‘thank you’, one player’s father came out saying his family had no reason to be grateful to the president, saying, “Who? What was he over there for? Don’t tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out.”

Then he elaborated: “As long as my boy’s back here, I’m fine. I’m happy with how things were handled. A lot of people like to say a lot of things that they thought happened over there. Like I told him, “They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.” I’m from L.A. I’ve seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses. My son has built up enough character that one bad decision doesn’t define him. Now if you can go back and say when he was 12 years old he was shoplifting and stealing cars and going wild, then that’s a different thing. Everybody gets stuck on the negativity of some things, and they get stuck on them too long. That’s not me. I handle what’s going on, and then we go from there.”

If President Trump hadn’t intervened and his son was sent to a Chinese prison for ten years, I wonder how soon this parent would have asked (probably demanded!) help for his erring son. His remarks certainly reveal how the moral compass is working in the world today. Those three boys were representing America and they disgraced themselves and our country. In spite of that, President Trump didn’t want to leave American citizens in a foreign prison and worked to have them released and sent home. Sounds to me like this one, particular father is stuck on negativity himself in disrespecting the President.

Happy Birthday, United States National Anthem!

Originally, Francis Scott Key’s four-stanza poem was in honor of Fort McHenry’s flag which survived through the Battle of Baltimore on September 14, 1814 during the last months of the War of 1812. Initially, it seemed the British would have the upper hand after the recent attack on Washington DC and the burning of the White House and Capitol Building. Key’s heartfelt ode to the flag was set to the popular British pub son, “To Anacreon in Heaven” and, subsequently entitled “The Star Spangled Banner. It soon became the most well-loved patriotic son in the country and named The National Anthem in 1931.

Recently, history illiterate protestors have tried to demean our flag and reduce it to a thing of derision. Perhaps, if they did a little more reading and a little less victim-playing, they would understand the reason for the anthem and find more productive and civilized ways to vent their problems with living in a free country where they can dishonor the flag without a real reason and without arrest. That is not the case in many other countries who don’t have a flag representing freedom and the blood shed to grant this freedom to everyone.