You go, Joe!
November 26, 2001
Okay, guys, confess. When you were a child did you play with army men? You know the ones. They were green and had the flat plastic foundation that helped them stand. (It also was a great place to put M-80s to explode the earth tone Germans to smithereens!)
Rural North Carolina was a great place to play war. Fort Bragg, Pope Air Force Base and Camp LeJune created awareness in a youngster of all things military. As you ran across a minefield (actually cow patties) doing recon around the enemy (the bull on the other side of the field) in preparation for an assault on the enemy headquarters (an abandoned barn), you could look up and see a string of C-130 transports doing the real job of soldiers.
Sometimes the erstwhile soldiers armed with guns fashioned from scrape wood from the cabinet shop got really lucky and saw a team of A-10 Warthogs go screaming low overhead. Boy would you get pumped after that! It was time to charge the hill!
However, such actions today are termed a detriment to our society. For youngsters to find pleasure in war is a deforming of our culture. To play at such violent games will harm the psyche of any child!
Case in point can be found in a recent article from http://www.wilmingtonstar.com (The Wilmington Star). Editor's Note: The article has now been archived and must be purchased if you wish to read it. Yep, Wilmington, North Carolina, where it is not uncommon to see military helicopters doing maneuvers off the coast of Wrightsville Beach. Looks like our little green heroes from childhood have lost that war.
The Star article tells the story of how the little green army men of our youth have been banned from a day-care center in the city of Wilmington.
But wait! There is hope. Look at this article that appeared in The Greenville News. Right up there with the firemen and policemen is another hero from the past, GI Joe. Seems they can't keep the guy on the shelves. Perhaps all is not lost.
Is it wrong for kids to find "pleasure" in war games? Well, folks like Katie Haselden think so. I think not. Come on guys, think back, was your focus on the "killing" while you played or was it an acting out of all the heroic tendencies that welled up inside after reading the exploits of the 101 Airborne in World War II or the Marines of D-day?
Wasn't it more fun to get shot by the pretend and unseen enemy than to shoot him? There you are in your position about to be overrun by Japanese yelling their dreaded banshee yell. No, you won't retreat. You are wounded, once, twice and still you fight on.
You laugh? Well, when you look for heroes on the Christmas shelves this year, don't forget those Marines that just landed in Kandahar. I bet not to long ago they picked up their sticks--I mean weapons--and charged across the minefield and protected the position. They did so not for sake of violence but to live out in play what they saw in their heroes. Duty. Honor. Country.
We lose something if the Katie Haselden's of the world have their way. Yet, I smile as I approach the playground. There they are picking up their sticks and charging the hill . . . You go, Joe!