Friday, October 31, 2008

A Matter of Pride

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. Perhaps THE most unlikely sentence that I would remember from my 'recommended' reading in school. I always retained the gist of what I read but not quotable detail so when this phrase came easily to mind the other day, I was amazed. I remember it from a book called "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori is a line from the Roman lyrical poet Horace's OdesEnglish as: "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country." In classical Latin it was pronounced, "dulcet decorumst pro patria mori," due to poetic elisionprodelision. (iii 2.13). The line can be rendered in and

The line has been a commonplace in modern times throughout Europe. It was quoted by Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat immediately before his beheading on Tower Hill, London in 1747. It was much quoted in reference to the British Empire in the 19th century, particularly during the Boer War.

"Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, sed dulcius pro patria vivere, et dulcissimum pro patria bibere. Ergo, bibamus pro salute patriae" In English this is rendered as: "It is sweet to die for the homeland, but it is sweeter to live for the homeland, and the sweetest to drink for it. Therefore, let us drink to the health of the homeland." It was a frequent 19th century students' toast.

This illustrates the difference in the presidential candidates that makes a difference for me. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, sed dulcius pro patria vivere.

I believe that Senator McCain represents the first part of the phrase. He is comfortable with war ~ it has been his life all his life (his father was in the military). War made him who he is today. He thrives in the atmosphere of war and hilights his experience as what makes him the best choice to be Commander in Chief right now.

The US President is not JUST the Commander in Chief of the US Military. There is so very much more to the responsibilities of the President and that's where the middle of the phrase comes in. Senator Obama represents the beginning AND the middle of the phrase for me. He understands the sacrifice our military families make and he fully appreciates (understanding AND gratitude) them and their accomplishments. Senator Obama however, also understands the role of diplomacy, the value of reason, the art of negotiation. He is focused on the betterment of our country here at home as a major prerequisite in our image in the world community. He looks at the Presidency through a wide angle lens... as it should be, as it MUST be to return this country to it's status as a respected world leader.

On Tuesday I will remember almost three hundred years of events that led to the moment I walked into my polling place. I will remember our founding fathers who came here and established this great country on the premise that we are all equal and have the right to question and have a say in our government. I will exercise my right to vote in recognition of my responsibility to the women who fought for it before I was even born. I will proudly, triumphantly cast my vote for the sweetness of living for my country and I will be so much more emotional than I have ever been to do so. This time, I will also swell with pride that I have the opportunity to further a famous Dream spoken when I was a toddler. This time I will be cognizant that my vote is not only MY voice but the voices of so many who have fought in every possible way to bring this amazing nation to the precipice of historic growth.

As I watch the election results Tuesday night, I will represent the completion of the phrase with a toast to my country and a drink to it's bright future.

Dulce et decorum est pro patria vivere!!!!

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