As I pulled into the parking lot at the Mountain View Cemetery in Helper on Monday morning to cover the memorial services, I marveled at all the flags that were flying and the veterans in uniform that had assembled.
Once out of my car, I opened the trunk and started to get out my camera and gear. As I walked toward the cemetery entrance I looked around at the cars in the parking lot and was interested to see many of the World War II veterans getting out of Toyotas and Nissans and in other parts of the lot I saw some BMW's and Volkswagons parked there as well.
Fifty years ago these men and women were fighting against the Axis powers, including Japan and Germany. Today they are driving cars made in those countries.
I remember when I was just out of high school, I had a couple of veterans tell me how the glut of the Japanese and German products that were invading our country at the time would be our downfall and that those countries were finally achieving what they had failed to do in the 1940's, which was take over our land and nation.
I am sure a few still have that sentiment, but over the past 30 years most of us have come to realize that the world is a big place, and very changed from the days of Hitler and Tojo. Once in a while you still hear people talking about buying only American cars, and I myself have always been partial to buying American brands. However what we have to remember is that all they are: brands. Most "American" cars have at least a small percentage of foreign made parts in them and some that have American names on them are actually made in other places than here in the U.S.A. In additions some foreign brands are built right here in the states.
The point is that we have changed and so has the world. I think this turn in thinking reflects the one of the best virtues we as Americans have; that of being able to forgive our enemies and in fact even supporting them economically when all is said and done.
That's a very good reason to be proud that we are Americans.