Thursday, April 1, 2010

America - A Country Worth Dying For?

By Nicholas Contompasis

In the fall of 1971, I was 24, my young bride of 6 hours was 22 and sitting next to me while we headed east over the Atlantic Ocean under the light of a full moon. Heathrow Airport was our first stop in our self imposed exile from the United States. I had just graduated from college and had spent a lot of time on the streets of D.C. with SDS demonstrating against the Vietnam War. As we touched down in England it was now official, we were expatriates. My disillusionment with my country had reached a crescendo. I was tired of the assassinations, the hatred and the divisions that were everyday America. It seemed that no matter what we did the government kept churning and grinding up America’s youth in a hopeless war. Well, I had had it with the lies, endless shouting and killings. So, I took my baby and left the madness for hopefully a more settled land, Europe. We had some money so we bought a van and traveled most of the continent, experiencing the people and everyday life.
In my mind I had severed all contact and memory of America and my past. It was forced but I did it. The more I forced it the more I missed it. The more I wanted to adopt my new home the more I missed my F***ed up America and all of its flaws. My anger for my country and its behavior over the past 8 years drove me nuts. Now my body was 7,000 miles away but my mind was right back on Pennsylvania Avenue yelling and screaming at the white halls of government. I was trapped in a cycle of love for my country and the battle to perfect it.
One day while I was admiring the magnificence of the Matterhorn in Switzerland I couldn't help but notice the similarity of its greatness with my not so forgotten country. I then realized that my leaving was wrong. Leaving was running. Leaving was not American. By leaving I was copping out. By returning to the home of my ancestors in Europe I was digressing. By ignoring and walking away from the battle was something I knew I couldn’t live with.
That was my life 40 years ago. I now proudly call myself an American patriot, a defender of our land. So I’m glad I returned to the land my grandparents called the Promised Land. After all I wouldn’t have missed this battle for freedom and democracy for the world. What I learned so many years ago was that our country is worth fighting for and yes worth dying for. So let’s get on with it………


Tina said...

That was so moving. Thank you for sharing it with us. I would love to read your story how you went from SDS to a conservative Christian blogger & internet radio host. It might be a learning tool for others.

Nicholas Contompasis said...

To Tina
Thanks for your comment. Yes I do need to write about that bridge from insanity to sanity.