No Country like this One

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 14, 2004

Ripples – Anna Monica

It was many years ago when a co-worker, Joe, said to me,” if people only knew just what war really is, they would do everything they could to avoid it.” It was said with such surety, I never forgot that statement.

Those of my generation never really experienced much in the way of war, personally. WWII was ahead of us; we were still a little young for Korea and too old for Vietnam. The closest I came to being alarmed about war was at the time of the Cuban crisis when Kennedy was president and two of my brothers were in the armed forces; Tony in the Army and Fano in the Marines. We were on the verge of war, but thankfully, it was avoided. But, there are so many sad stories I heard from others about the loss of husbands, sons, brothers and other loved ones in different wars.

Then, too, I have been to the D-Day Museum in New Orleans which is almost overwhelming in its depiction of lives lost when mankind has just about lost its mind and set out to annihilate each other. It’s deplorable, it’s history – it’s true.

There has never been a time when, as I put my head on a pillow at night, I had to fear a dreaded knock on the door threatening my life or the lives of my loved ones. Some people in other countries still don’t have that luxury. I never can forget why I am so fortunate. It didn’t just happen; I have been protected through the courage and loss of lives of others.

This is my country and there are so many faults with my country and things I don’t like – especially the taxes and the politics; I cannot decide which is worse. However, there is so much that is “right” with my country, I feel assaulted when others condemn it.

No human being in the world deserves to be demoralized, degraded and dehumanized for any reason. Wrong-doing does demand justice and even when justice seems blind, we must continue to seek it! I am referring to the abhorrent treatment of the Iraqi prisoners that fills the news continuously lately.

In talking with my friend, Donnie, we agree that evil does exist everywhere. The people who hurt and torment people in wars, we believe, would show the same kind of evil in other situations, in other places. Truly, people are the same all over; good and evil are always with us. There has been so much talk of the bad that the U.S. has done so why don’t we compare it with some of the good. Why not let the news waves be filled with the number of times we have fed the hungry, sent medicines, doctors, nurses, clothing, equipment, money and whatever was needed to countries all over the world during their bad times. Let us talk about the countries we have rescued in and from war; let us talk about the loss of our young men and women who will never know what it is to have a family and grow old watching their grandchildren because they served this country. Let us not talk about the negatives of our country in front of those who want to hear it and which have done far, far worse, like the recent beheading of one of our innocent citizens.

I have seen the fields of crosses marking the graves of our service men and women in Arlington and in Hawaii; there are so many more in the world that few of us have seen. So, let us not forget the good of this country and the price we have paid for it.

Years ago I was commuting to my job in New Orleans via the Greyhound Bus which we boarded at the Gulf station in LaPlace. Sam and Joe Arcuri were the owners and operators of that service station and every day we could exchange pleasantries with the popular two. Those were good days and I learned plenty from the people I met on the bus.

Often, I sat by a gentleman, who had a top job at the Michoud plant, working on the Saturn booster rocket, I believe. He had been all over the world and in our discussion one day he said to me, “you have no idea of what poverty is; even the poorest of us in this country have it so much better than many of those people in other countries;” more words I cannot forget.

So, in spite of what we hear; in spite of what our country’s adversaries would like to hear and have us believe; there is no country like this one. We need to deplore the evil and embrace the good; and we need to be kind to ourselves; we deserve it.

Anna Monica writes this column weekly and can reached at