Russell C. Wojtusiak
I must say that Meat Fest in its new form has drawn out my respect for the effort and joy that goes into having a good time with ones friends. I was glad to be apart of it. My complaints in form alone shall end, and I will begin anew with greater involvement. It is said that credit goes to the man in the arena, so that is where I will step. I look forward to a greater harmonizing of our efforts for this grand occasion.
For next year I ask that we look beyond our own lives and remember the fourth of July. It is admittedly difficult to remember, and keep close that which is not always self evident and resident in every day life. But we must try! We must remember that some men and women have chosen to place others and their nation above themselves. While in our ordinary lives this can seem far off and distant, because the grand struggle for survival is so removed from the everyday, in America. It is not built into our daily struggle and routine.
These writings are because of the satirical response to my forth of July toast at the opening Meat Fest Dinner. I understand that we are in the middle of revelry and excitement as one should be amongst great friends, but a moment on this day is not too much to ask for. I would appreciate that on future events we show the hallowed day of the fourth of July greater respect and hold glasses high with dignity. It is important to remember that freedom, liberty and democracy can die easily on the battlefield or on the desks of politicians, with regulations and over taxation. I implore you to remember that democracy, liberty and freedom will not survive apathy.
Also, with esteem respect and deference when such a toast is offered to remember our nation and those who risk much I hope that this moment will be received with greater severity. Granted I am not the best vestige of the greatness of this nation. I am a flawed man, who’s hart can be marred by his own tactless nature. But in the recess of my heart I believe in the validity and the beauty of the United States, its founding principles and the Constitution. That all men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.
Keep close in your heart the importance of this day. I believe that my family, my friends, that means you, and my country were worth my life and my death. This led me to serve my country voluntarily at war and at peace. I like many others still in government and the military sought to protect and defend their home and the people around them. I stood with members of the United States military in Iraq and watched them place others above themselves. Although the men and women in uniform and the government have often be misused and abused by those in power please remember the reasons why some of us sought this path.
I will use the words of a great man and great friend of mine, Ted Hart. In a recent phone conversation on forth of July weekend Ted, a United States Marine, expressed his feelings when he said he felt, “The Marine Corps is at war and America is not.” Ted was always a rock of stability, in matters of patriotism. He further expressed his concern about the respect, and support Soldiers and Marines get in America today. Is this what America does to its heroes? Now I know that many will say it’s the government fault. The elected officials may have created the situations, but what ways more on the heart of those who serve is their countrymen, because that is who we sought to protect. What spaces do we occupy in your heart?
For part of my life I had the honor, to serve next to heroic men and women, who placed a belief and others above everything. So when we make a toast on the forth of July please seriously contemplate and remember that these men and women are out there even now holding it together, serving at the behest of the civilian electorate. They stand supporting the great social experiment called America.