BY J. ARTHUR RATH III – I remember fish and flags waving above doors in Hawaii’s communities to express indoor feelings.

Paper fish hung from Japanese homes on “Boy Day”–littler the child, bigger the fish.  Seeing a huge red mullet flapping in the wind at the side of a house down the street  caused me to yell to my grandparents at breakfast: “The Nakamuras have a new baby boy!”

When war came AJA families displayed American flags above their front door as soon as sons went to train at Camp McCoy, Wisconsin. Displaying an American flag signaled that we are all alike. Flags remind us to set value on things that make us who and what we are.

Every youngster expected to serve “his” country; then it was “his or her” country.  And when it became “their” country all became equal within the proud military service profession.

Hawaii communities remained outwardly patriotic until all the rest of American society became blasé.  Uplifting, optimistic spirits seemingly crumbled into decay; the old life was lost, now no one remembers the simplicity and dignity of people from bygone generations.  My peers.

If neighbors of yesterday are forgotten, who shall remind us to set value on the things that made us what we are, to express appreciation symbolically; and to treat protectors and their loved ones kindly?

Where is our pride?  If we don’t overtly recognize patriotism, the America that was will be lost in the World Game for Power now underway—a drama only now surfacing.

We should know that Armed service personnel and dependents comprise 25 percent or more of Hawaii’s population.  They are a powerful an engine that is driving our economy, it won’t stop. Tourists are transients!

More service personnel and their families are coming.  World drama and logistics necessitates their being here. Traditionally, when service careers end, Hawaii becomes “home” to many and their savings and pensions flow into the economy. Armed Service personnel provide more economic stability than quixotic “tourist industry.”

While loved ones are overseas or under seas, left-behind families need “Aloha”  Hawaii is their home while waiting and praying for safety from peril and for a return. You’ve heard the song “That Old Hawaiian Hospitality”, well a smile and a nod’s a good way to express it now.  Know how to kokua (be helpful) try it, you may enrichen your life as well as theirs.  (I can give a testimonial.)

As the patriotic neighbors of yesterday are forgotten, the new ones–warriors and families—are reminders what  made us what we are.  They are strong, determined, and professionals.

On the other hand, Hawaii government is the bulwark to protect us from diminishing economic power in Hawaii. I wonder, do university and elected officials need a revelation about noble traditions, character, worthiness, patriotism, along with some understanding of Hawaii’s people?  Any high ideals are at work there they seem buried under dusty oblivion. “Revelation” would not be too much of a challenge for me to write in Plain English.  Having it read or listened to is another thing entirely.

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