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Odell Myers, Pilot
438 Squadron, 319th Medium Bombardment Group
12th USAAF

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A presentation at
Bond Park, July 3, 2003
Independence Day Eve Patriotic Program
By the Cary Town Band
Sponsored by the Town of Cary, NC
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department

CAN THIS NATION LONG ENDURE?

By Odell Myers, author of THRICE CAUGHT
An American Army POW's 900 days Under Axis Guns
McFarland & Co. Inc., Publishers: Jefferson, NC 28640- 0611
www.mcfarlandpub.com

Mr. Hammerle, members of the Band, Fellow Patriots:

What risks we Americans take! Mr. Hammerle invited me to speak at this Independence Day eve celebration and you came to hear the music and my speech yet no one censored my speech. Nor was I required to pass a litmus test for patriotism.

No one even thought of a litmus test for patriotism but merely assumed that I might say something interesting because I served in the Air Force in WWII and was an Axis prisoner of war in Europe for 900 days.

That POW experience and the current terrorism aimed at our destruction certainly focused my attention on the unique foundation principles of the United States of America.

No nation, however, has a monopoly on patriotism or some idea of independence. In WWII, Germans, Italians and Japanese were and still are patriots. To the citizens of the former USSR, WWII was the great patriotic war! Afghanistan's Taliban are patriots. Iraqis are patriots! So are Palestinians, Israelis, Syrians, Iranians, North Koreans and so on.

Patriotism-whether or not so named-is as ancient as human kind and loyalty to a geographic place and/or a culture is a major factor in mankind's survival.

About 431 BC, the Greek dramatist Euripides wrote: There is no greater sorrow on earth than the loss of one's native land.

More than a century earlier when the Jews had been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar and deported to Babylon, the captives cried: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.

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