Back on American soil

As an Army officer with 30-plus years of service, I was deployed overseas to a number of war zones and contingency operations.  Most of those locations were, as President Trump is alleged to have called them, "s-hole countries."

After being away from home for months and seeing, witnessing, and experiencing what others don't have and comparing it to what Americans do have, I remember the sheer joy of landing back in the United States.  Each time, upon touchdown, the entire plane erupted with cheers, applause, and clapping.  Unless you've been there, done that, been shot at, lost brothers-in-arms, shed some tears, and safely returned to American soil, you have no clue about the emotional bonds that one develops for this nation, warts and all.  It's difficult to adequately put those feelings into words.

Back in February, star WNBA player Brittney Griner was arrested for drug possession when she tried to enter Russia with a small amount of cannabis or marijuana or hashish oil.  She was charged with drug-smuggling with criminal intent.  Griner claims that she made a mistake, didn't know that the cannabis oil was illegal, and had no intention to break the law.  On August 4, she was found guilty and sentenced to nine years in a Russian prison. 

Karma has a way of slapping us and teaching us lessons.  Griner is receiving her karma lesson in a Russian prison.  As a famous athlete, she didn't want the U.S. National Anthem played at her WNBA basketball games, refused to come out of the locker room until after the anthem, and called the anthem and nation racist.  Griner's words and actions prove that she hates America.  Apparently, LeBron James agrees with her hatred.  He wondered if Griner should even return to America if/when she gets released from prison.

Funny how one's view of the United States suddenly changes under adverse conditions, especially among our privileged elites, who continually denigrate this country and take their freedoms for granted.  Right now, Griner is feeling the loneliness of not being protected by the flag she scorned.  However, she's an American citizen, and she's free to express herself, even if it's to bash the nation.

That said, I have no doubt that each day Griner spends in her Russian hellhole, she develops strong emotional bonds for America.  Also, I'm willing to bet, when she eventually returns, upon touchdown on American soil, she whoops and hollers, and gets down on her hands and knees and kisses the ground under her feet.  Who knows?  She might even start singing "God Bless America"!

The author spent over 30 years in the Army as an infantry and intelligence officer.  (Please, no jokes about military intelligence.)  He deployed to Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Egypt, Desert Storm, and three times supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

Image: Jeff Turner via Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

If you experience technical problems, please write to