I have to pass along a funny story to you.
A journalist friend of mine — I'll keep his name out of it — turned down an invite to speak at an event for the World War II Commission. He had very sound reasons. But his big one was this: "I'm a journalist… I can't take sides."
Now, don't get me wrong. I have to stress, he is a good journalist and a good person. But apparently, he doesn't think this commission is a good thing for a good journalist to be doing.
A good deal of controversy doesn't help. After all, this is the group that wants to build yet another memorial on the great mall in Washington. And it's privately funded to boot. God knows who's giving the dough and to whom they're giving it. So he's had enough of it.
But that got me thinking, are we journalists a little full of ourselves? We do mean well. But I think some of us, myself included sometimes, get a little ahead of ourselves.
Don't get me wrong, I take great pride in what I do. But it isn't who I am. And on this Independence Day holiday, it shouldn't be what I'm about.
I wasn't born with the freedom I have to report, to criticize and to scrutinize. Someone gave me that. Someone fought for that. Some lost their lives for that. Some say it might be politically incorrect to thank them for that or to take their side. But not me.
I'm a journalist, yes. But I'm an American, first and a grateful person, most.
It wouldn't kill me and my colleagues in the press to remember that there are more important people on this planet than us. And on this July 4th holiday, more important causes.
Yes, we journalists love to dig. But we rarely offer to thank. So let me start by thanking the veterans. Thank you for letting me do my thing. Because you sacrificed everything. Have a wonderful holiday. You made it. And while a lot of folks don't tell you this, we're grateful for it. We just have a weird way of showing it.
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