James DeFrancia: A parade does not a patriot make | SteamboatToday.com

James DeFrancia: A parade does not a patriot make

As a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a Vietnam veteran and a retired Navy commander, I strongly disagree with Dr. Rainwater's comments in a Feb. 10 letter to the editor.

A parade does not a patriot make. Service makes a patriot, whether in the military or any other form of participation for the common good.

And we better honor those who serve not with just a "thank you for your service" but with service of our own, in whatever way we are able to contribute, thus following the example of our serving citizens.

The current President is hardly a model of patriotism when it comes to service. He has never served in any capacity, at any time, in any form.

Worse still, he has disparaged true serving heroes like Senator McCain. "Sad" as the President likes to say.

The "unabashed patriotism" Dr. Rainwater attributes to the current President is hardly equal to that of the first President Bush, a true war hero, or his son, who served in uniform as a pilot in the Guard.

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Ronald Reagan, and for that matter John Wayne, never heard a shot fired in anger or faced real danger. Though President Reagan did assist in other ways and was clearly a revered national leader.

In addition, Dr. Rainwater seems not to understand that we have the most powerful military in the world, parades or not. As an example, our Navy – the world's largest – is larger than the next 12 navies combined. We do not need parades to entertain the President in order to prove that strength.

And the millions of dollars to be spent on such a display are better directed to supporting the forces with things they really need.

Americans are very proud of our service men and women, and we support them in any number of ways. If you really want to honor them, send donations to the various military  assistance organizations like the USO, Navy Relief Society and the like.

National defense and military service are not a reality TV show needing attention-getting fanfare like parades. Such fanfare is all the current President seems to value, having clearly no grasp of either the real military or real demonstrations of patriotism.

Sorry to rain on your parade, doctor.

James DeFrancia

Steamboat Springs