YellowRibbonsAs a soldier, returning to the United States after the Gulf War near the Fourth of July reminded me of what it meant to live in a free nation, of the value of home, of family, of love.

I am an inveterate traveler. I have returned to America many times, always with a renewed sense of wonder and admiration and devotion to a land that the Founders built on the basis of God, liberty, and value of the individual. This time, however, was special.

I served 29 years in the military, active and reserve, four of them in the Navy as a journalist, the remainder in the Army with Special Forces (Green Berets) or as a combat and leadership instructor. I often volunteered for extended tours of duty.

The War in the Gulf began in the air with “Shock and Awe,” its pyrotechnics played repeatedly on CNN. My commander summoned me to his office. The 433d MP Company out of Louisiana was being activated and deployed; it needed a First Sergeant to lead it.

My commander informed the 5th Army that I would have to be “hidden” if the deployment meant garrison duty. “But,” he added, “if you’re going to war, you’ll want him.”

Like most Special Forces soldiers, I had little patience for what is referred to in the military as spit-and-polish “bull sh–.” Green Berets are mission-oriented to get a job done.

I was eager to return home after the war ended. I had informed few of my friends or family that I was leaving or of my destination. They were accustomed to my disappearing from time to time.

To my surprise, an enormous “Welcome home!” yellow ribbon adorned the tree in my mother’s front yard. To my even greater surprise, friends and other members of the family also had yellow ribbons around their trees or in bows on their front porches.

Welcome home!

Never had there been a better one. And on the Fourth of July yet.

“If we remain silent out of intimidation and stoically accept the madness of our Brave New World, we will eventually concede away the final remnants of liberty.”

From Going Bonkers: The Wacky World of Cultural Madness by Charles W. Sasser. “Ten years ago in this book I tried to warn of what was coming. Now it’s here.”

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