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Friday, June 4, 2010

It's tourist season once again

This last Memorial Day weekend had to be one of the wettest on record. It was a perfect storm where a westerly Pacific frontal system met an easterly outflow of tourists in a monsoon of misery. 
A morning-after drive through a crowded campground to view the soggy campers huddled beneath their leaky tarps around the smoky campfires, gave the locals an opportunity to look down on the less fortunate. When asked by the tourists if it always rains on the North Olympic Peninsula, it’s a good idea to assure them that it does.
That keeps them from moving here.
Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional opener of the tourist season. I couldn’t wait to go be a tourist with them. 
I had been working to get my boat ready for a summer of camping and fishing. It’s not easy to get a fishing boat outfitted properly. From the heated pole holder to the guide model bottle opener, there are a lot of little details that can make a difference in quality time on the water.  I tried to get my boat all wired together in time for the weekend but something wasn’t quite right. The boat was missing a part, a small American flag decal on the stern.
Old Sam Johnson called patriotism, “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” 
I’d say it’s better than no refuge at all. The fact is once I put that flag on my boat I started catching more and bigger fish. You can’t argue with success. I’d rather have luck than skill. So when it was time to put a new flag on the boat I was a little surprised I couldn’t find one.   
I first put that American flag on my boat back in 2001. Maybe you remember. It seems like ancient history now. Our country had just been attacked.  Thousands of people were killed in one of the darkest days of our history. People were scared. They prayed to God to save the United States. People were putting American flags on everything. You could stop and buy an American flag at any gas station, grocery or hardware store in the country.
I should have stocked up when I had the chance because just a few years later I looked for weeks for an American flag for my boat without much luck. At first I was discouraged then it became a challenge, to buy an American flag in America on Memorial Day.  America seems to either have ADD or a bad case of national amnesia.
Memorial Day was originally celebrated as Decoration Day to honor Union soldiers in the American Civil War. The total casualties for the North and South in the Civil War were over 650,000 dead. Since the Civil War the United States has engaged in 33 other wars, police actions, invasions, blockades and expeditions with an estimated 1,942,000 wounded, dead or missing. 
That is roughly the population of Seattle. It is a number too big to describe. It is going to grow larger as we are lulled into a constant state of war with no clear strategic objectives and no foreseeable end. 
The global qar on terror must be going well. The politicians haven’t mentioned God lately. In fact we don’t call it a war anymore. Our current military involvements have been reclassified as “overseas contingency operations.”  
Terror is a “man-caused disaster.” Good news. The war is over. Mission accomplished. All we care about is a three-day weekend and gas prices.  
Those who ignore history seem to be running the country. 
God save the United States. 

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