by June Griffin
We are "The Silent Majority." Please read our love letter to you. You are not forgotten - see the black flags flown where there is courage mingled with tears. See the absence of them where there is treason or abandonment.. Once this author met a lady at a Tennessee rest area. She was wearing a shirt bearing many names and words like "we don't forget" and "we miss you."
Inquiring about this, she said these were names of POW's she knew, one of which was her own dear son. She wore this shirt everywhere and had worn it since 1972. She and thousands of others have a very sore place deep down in their soul, a sore place which will not heal. What balm for this healing?
Oh, my dear, why don't you call your Congressman? Why have you never read that during the days of President Hoover when just one American was captured overseas, how the entire United States Military was pressed into service to rescue that beloved citizen? Just because he was a citizen? Let me not churn the waters of your bitterness, oh, no, that is not the purpose of this column. Rather it is to write you a real, public announcement of our hopes for your return and those of your buddies whose bones are somewhere - somewhere.... Their loved ones are somewhere,... somewhere...
And their elected Representatives are EVERYWHERE - globe-hopping here and there, enjoying the wine of internationalism, tasting the delicacies of global tourism, enjoying the fulfillment of world-wide careers and fame, setting up shop and plying their personal wares in the greatest frame of mind - "Please smile for the camera, Senator, here, let us get a nice picture of you bringing money to Africa, Senator, this photo-op will be useful for the next campaign, Congressman...let us see you helping the poor and downtrodden, Senator, be sure to tell NPR, they love benevolence..." Oh, how careful we must be not to offend international relations or to upset The Market.
Dear POW, you have a vast army of your fellow citizens who care for your solitude. Many fly those poignant flags in their yards, wear them on their shirts, fly them in town parades, emblazon them on their cars and motorcycles. All shout, "We care, it is all we can do, except pray without ceasing for the Lord to send help for you - to restore you, bodies, records, memories, retribution..." Oh, yes, we hear much about so-called civil rights reparations, pay us back, they say, for our ancestors who were slaves or mistreated or stolen land or some other infraction in the ancient past, dug from the tombs of imagination. Yet our own living or immediate past, who cares?
Oh, dear soldier, we do, WE DO!!! See the town parades, the happy and careless crowd, until one comes bearing the Black Flag. Silence replaces Glee, Soberness ousts Hilarity! Questioning children demand: "What does that mean, Mommie, what does that mean, Daddy?" Later, Son, much later...
Well, then how many POW's are abandoned? What matters how many? One would be too many. That is the way of America - we love our own people and will not let them be mistreated, and certainly not forgotten...Isn't that the way it is, dear Senator, dear Congressman? Don't you lay awake nights planning to go after these dear ones of the black flags? Oh, Sympathy and Love; Piety and Patriotism: Arise from your sleep and gird on your blazing armor... Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, not just lift up your voice - yea, get in Air Force One and fly with God speed to the embassy. Remember Ticonderoga who met Ethan Allen with the query: "In whose name do you take this fort?" He standing alone before the British guard stated with full authority, "In the Name of Jehovah and the Continental Congress." So may you, after spending your night in repentance for your delay, for Christ's Sake, say, "In the Name of Jehovah and the United States of America, give us a full accounting and release our POW's. Or there will be nothing left of North Vietnam, North Korea, China or Moscow. You have 24 hours to do so!" Remember the Manhattan Project! Remember Little Boy! He lives.