Um… No.

So, we went to our town’s Veterans Day ceremony this morning.  This has been a regular thing for us since Punk joined the marching band; they play the Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful (and Taps, which pisses me off every year) for the occasion.  It’s not exactly an enjoyable way to spend the morning; it tends to be long and drawn out, and the Master of Ceremonies is very old, not terribly intelligible (Punk’s comment this afternoon on the way home was, “DUDE!  You don’t need to put the microphone IN YOUR MOUTH!”), and doesn’t seem to understand the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day.

This morning, though, he crossed the line.

Look, I can live around the idea that he doesn’t understand that Veterans Day is about celebrating LIVING people and Memorial Day is for commemorating those who have died.  I can grit my teeth during the prayers and the constant intonations that war is glorious and noble and all about peace (do they even HEAR themselves?).  I can make it through the endless pontification on duty and service and debts we owe.  What I CAN’T abide – what I WON’T abide – is when a public exercise like this is turned into a forum for an individual’s personal political views.

While reciting a section of this poem (which one could argue was inappropriate to begin with), our illustrious MC decided to include a number of jabs about “broken promises” and about “people being able to keep their insurance policies and doctors.”  I was completely STUNNED when he did that, and it was all I could do not to say “EXCUSE me?!” out loud.

I’m working on composing a letter of complaint to the town, the local paper, and to this gentleman in particular, and reminding them that the point of the Veterans Day celebration is to commemorate our neighbors who served in the armed services.  There’s a time and a place for political speech; this was neither.

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6 responses to “Um… No.

  1. Here’s what I sent to the mayor, the entire city council, and the local newspaper:

    To Whom it May Concern:

    My family and I attended this year’s Veterans Day commemoration at City Hall this morning as we’ve done every year since our daughter joined the City High School Marching Band in 2011. We’ve always found the ceremony to be tasteful and well organized. This year, however, I am writing to take serious issue with some of the choices the Master of Ceremonies, James Parcell, decided to make.

    Public celebrations of our military service members are intended to focus on the values we all hold dear; duty and honor, responsibility and sacrifice, patriotism and service. These occasions can either be somber, as in the case of Memorial Day when we commemorate our war dead, or celebratory, as when we honor our living veterans as we were supposed to do today. These are not forums for individuals to air their personal political opinions or to make criticisms of our duly elected officials; the military has a sacred tradition of its members holding themselves above politics as they execute their duties and responsibilities, and any commemoration of our service members should reflect that tradition.

    It became apparent today that Mr. Parcell did not understand this concept, however. He made a number of comments that were disparaging to the President, which I feel Mr. Parcell, as a service member himself, should have known was neither appropriate to the occasion nor fitting behavior for a uniformed officer performing an official duty. He chose to recite a section of a poem which seems wholly inappropriate to the spirit of the day (I have included a link to the poem below) and to use that poem as a vehicle to express his opinions about the Affordable Care Act and what he perceives to be shortcomings on the part of the President in the implementation of that law.

    I feel Mr. Parcell should be relieved of his responsibility to emcee further celebrations for our town, as his behavior was disrespectful to both his audience and to the veterans he was claiming to honor. While he is certainly entitled to his opinions about the issues of our day, his insistence on airing those opinions during a public celebration of our veterans was unprofessional, inappropriate, unpatriotic, and in exceedingly poor taste.

    Sincerely,

    Mrs. Chili

  2. I would totally argue that the poem is inappropriate.

  3. I was surprised to get this reply tonight from the city manager:

    Mrs. Chili,
    Thank you for attending the Veteran’s Day ceremonies here and also your daughter for joining with the other student musicians in recognizing the proud and courageous service provided by our United States veterans. Also, thank you for sharing your concerns with us regarding comments made during the event. As the ceremonies here in town are organized and hosted entirely by the City Veteran’s Council, I will forward your message to the contacts I have who represent the various veteran and retired military organizations that make-up the Veteran’s Council. They will therefore be aware and able to consider the feedback you have provided as they plan, recruit and organize future ceremonies.

    I also forwarded my complaint to my senator, whose husband was in attendance this morning and, I’m sure, heard exactly what I did.

  4. Uh oh, the oldsters are fired UP. Someone needs to get the old guy some internet and some facts.

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