Lonely liberals at Bay Pines Memorial Day observance

“Mommy,” Oldest asked me, “what’s the 9/12 project? What’s a Constitution Watchdog? What’s the Tea Party?”

That’s right. We were smack dab in the middle of those who admire Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck. I looked around and couldn’t see anyone who wasn’t “Proud to be a real patriot.” Another man sat down in front of me with his pregnant wife and three children. He had a buzz cut, chiseled arms and legs (weirdly devoid of any hair) and couldn’t have been more than five feet tall. He asked one of the organizers if they could sit in the “Patriots” section and she smiled.

“We’re those radical, angry Tea Party people,” she said. “I’m not sure you want to be around us.”

He smiled back. “I’m angry and radical and served my country for 12 years. Look around. You won’t see any of them liberals here. We’re on your side.”

I almost told that angry little man that there was a family of liberals right behind him. But I was too busy listening to Representative Bill Young and trying not to throw up.

Bill Young tells the same story every year. He talks about his wife, Beverly, and how she wore a “Support Our Troops” shirt into the halls of Congress during President Bush’s State of the Union address in 2006. Rep. Young always leaves out the part about Cindy Sheehan, who wore an anti-war shirt that same day. Not only was she asked to leave, but Sheehan was also arrested. Since that part of the tale doesn’t exactly fit his narrative, Billy leaves it out.

This year, Rep. Young also forgot to mention the year the incident occurred and said that it took place during “the President’s” State of the Union address. Several people booed and made disparaging comments about President Barack Obama, mistakenly believing it was a recent event.

Rep. Young didn’t bother to correct them.

Then he went on the say that the United States cannot afford to suffer from terrorist attacks like the recent New York City threat, underwear bomber and Ft. Hood killings. He didn’t mention 9/11, anthrax attacks, the shoe bomber or anything that happened before Obama arrived in the White House. People made comments about “change” and “hope” and, again, Rep. Young didn’t bother to correct them.

It’s no wonder liberals and progressives find something else to do on Memorial Day. It’s hard sitting around half-wits who have never read the Constitution, yet pretend to defend it. It’s hard listening to people who claim to be patriots, but say disparaging things about those who are in our nation’s capital, fighting for them, every single day. It’s hard to watch an elected official who participated in covering up the Walter Reed scandal act like he cares about our veterans.

But after Taps played and my tears dried, I walked around the graves with my family for a few minutes. We blocked out the hate-mongers vying for interviews and television cameras and instead privately thanked those who were buried before us. My boys and I said a simple prayer for everyone who gave the ultimate sacrifice, veteran and civilian alike, and then we left to enjoy a beautiful day together.

That’s what Memorial Day is all about, after all.

by Catherine Durkin Robinson, creating quite a scene over at Out in Left Field.

My husband and I took our kids to Bay Pines National Cemetery for the annual Memorial Day ceremony. We’ve been attending this event for ten years and can remember the days when hardly anyone showed up. Back in 2000 and 2001, there was plenty of parking space, only a dozen folding chairs and miles of empty space around the graveyard. That all changed with 9/11, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan keep the crowds coming back every year, more and more people with personal stories and memories to share.

Yet this year’s ceremony had an altogether different vibe to it.

The crowd at Bay Pines has always been decidedly right-wing. This is not surprising, considering that most of the people in attendance are older, white, and from a military background. My family and I are in the minority, but I just tell the kids to think of those folks as family. Let’s be honest, add in some Genny Beer and a few redheads and it could easily be a Durkin family reunion.

This year, we sat toward the back in a row with several empty seats. After we arrived, a man in his mid-60s with more than a few missing teeth walked over and planted a yellow flag at my feet. I looked up through the morning sunlight and saw that the flag said, “Don’t Tread on Me.” I looked at the man’s shirt and felt sick to my stomach. My husband and kids noticed him, too.

Then his friends arrived. Their t-shirts were even better.

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