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Our Patriotic Mom


Over 40 years ago our mother's church board, of which she was a member and for reasons now unknown, held a series of discussion sessions with members of the Communist Party from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. When the sessions were about to conclude, our mother asked to speak. This is what said to the group:

"For six weeks now we have talked about what is wrong with this country, and before we close these sessions, I'd like to say a few words about what is right. We've talked about the race problem and how badly we've treated the black people in this country - and yet there is no country in the world - with no exception - where they have it so good. And, incidentally, slavery, for which we are constantly maligned, existed in this country for less than 100 years, and even at its beginning, the fight against it was begun. This country is constantly working to improve the lot of these people. Can they say that about any other country in the world?

We've talked about the unscrupulous wealthy businessmen - lumping them all together - and yet the standard of living for the great majority in this country is better than that of any peoples in the world! - with no exception! You and I would be considered wealthy in most countries of the world. And whether you like it or not, this is due to those "unscrupulous" businessmen - those capitalists! In other words, I would wager that in no other country in the world can they say that the "minority" is poor, the way we can. It's the other way around any place you look.

We, along with the youth of today, are being sold a "bill of goods" that this "Establishment" must come down - that it is evil. And yet this same establishment has fed and clothed half the peoples of the earth. Its military strength, which everyone seems to abhor, has come to the rescue of the world twice - maybe even more. Even in Vietnam and Korea, which everyone seems to condemn, we became involved because someone asked for help and we gave it. We have been branded as a violent nation - and yet when you put us up beside the Germans and their Nazi regime; the Spanish with their Inquisition and revolutions; the Romans with their constant wars and their horrible treatment of human beings in the Arenas; the African blacks with their tribal wars; and even the English with their constant wars with Spain and France and the Far East, just to name a few. We can't hold a candle to them when it comes to violence.

So, I'd like to go on record saying here and now that I love this country and all it stands for. I'm for the establishment - one hundred percent! Even with its imperfections - I wouldn't want it any other way. This doesn't mean that I don't think there's room for improvements and changes - but we are working on that - and always have! From its beginning this nation's people have worked constantly to better it. There is no country on earth that has greater wealth, greater strength - and above all - a greater heart! And not only its own people, but most of the peoples of the world have benefited in some way from all these attributes - especially the last one.

So, I say "God Bless America and keep her 'establishment' safe and strong from those who would tear it asunder!" Thank you for listening. But that is the way I feel."

These discussion sessions and our mother's response took place in West St. Louis County, Missouri, in 1971, over forty years ago. Our mom brought me this in a visit to my home one weekend. Thanks, mom, for teaching us what is great about America and to appreciate all it has given us. If only everyone could be taught so well.

Addendum: Mom passed away on December 20, 2015, at age 92. Her bright spirit and passion for life and this nation lives on through those she taught and whose lives she touched through her long life. She is missed here on earth but we know she is rejoicing with her beloved ancestors and bringing joy to those she meets in heaven.

Barbara Wood
July 17, 1923 - December 20, 2015