The final cut
A true but funny story. ( i got this from the little green football)..as a vet I loved it...
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and honor for the majority of people. For a select few, those committed to a “peace at any price” world-view, Memorial Day is a day to protest war, warriors and to hand out printed propaganda. This year in Columbia Missouri, at the Air Show and the Memorial Day Parade the “Peace at any price” propaganda ended up in shreds – literally.
By an earlier federal court ruling, the Veterans group that hosts Missouri’s Air Show was forced to allow the peace groups to hand out their literature and carry protest signs onto the tarmac of the event. The court ruled that protesters had the right to free speech. So, we provided some free speech of our own, by the name of Operation Simply Shred.
A simple concept, legal, moral, and deliciously humorous – Operation Simply Shred provided a polite, free and immediate shredding service for any unwanted political literature or flyer that an Air Show or parade attendee did not care to keep any longer. Small, powerful battery operated shredders in the hands of polite and helpful volunteers allowed any citizen to exercise their own First Amendment right to shred any flyer or propaganda piece handed to them by a “peace at any price” protestor just seconds after they received it. And it was environmentally friendly to boot.
For years, the peace protesters have held their signs and harangued the Military Recruiters. They protest and try to dig holes in the yard at the ROTC building. They set up cardboard coffins fashioned from old “Kerry for President” signs at the Veterans Air Show. One loose cannon peacenik even assaulted a woman one evening as she countered their Wed. spectacle near the recruiters’ office when she refused to take a flyer. Well, they forgot that free speech goes both ways. The peace protesters know the military can’t express an opinion, so they have a captive audience to their street theatrics. Private citizens, however, have no such restraints.
Armed with shredders, signs advertising the Operation, signs supporting our Veterans and Troops, and with no announcement or forewarning we showed up. As the Klingons say “revenge is best served cold.”
The peace protestors appeared like clockwork when the Air Show gates opened and they started handing out their leaflets. They saw us, and at first our signs confused them. We offered to take any unwanted political flyers from any citizen who wanted to give them to us and then shredded them before the eyes of the smiling citizen and in full view of the peacenik who handed it out. The peaceniks were stunned.
When the shock wore off they came to dialog with us. The head peacenik said “its like Nazi book burning, you’re fascists.” We said “you want free speech, well – people who don’t like your propaganda are free to take it from you, give it to us and shred it.” The head peacenik still didn’t get it and walked off muttering about fascists, apparently unable to understand that by shredding his tract, regular citizens were expressing their rejection of his propaganda and affirming their own right to free expression. He could dish it out but he sure couldn’t take it.
The reaction from the regular citizens was astounding. We were thanked, we were given thumbs up, we were offered food and drink (which we declined as we were way too busy), we had veterans of all ages salute us for our efforts and many laughed out loud when they saw us ready and willing to shred a flyer that someone else was handing out just a few feet away.
After two days of working the Air Show, the crowd waiting for the parade, were waiting for The Shredders. As we walked up a side street and folks saw us coming, they started pulling flyers out of their pockets and purses to hand to us, several stating they just knew we’d be there. When one Shredder’s batteries wore out, and she was unable to open it up to replace the batteries, a boy scout stepped forward and switched out the batteries for her. When the shredder was ready to go, he handed her a flyer to shred.
Another Shredder stated that one pamphleteer asked a woman who wanted a flyer if she was going to shred it. The woman said she wasn’t and received a flyer. She immediately turned around, took a couple of steps, and handed it to the Shredder.
The ruling may be appealed and/or reversed by next year. Regardless, Columbia now has an alternate voice when it comes to supporting our Troops and Veterans.
We hope the sting of insult that the peace protesters intended our military to suffer in silence was turned into an enjoyable demonstration, where hurt was assuaged and the anger was diffused.
Thank you Veterans for giving us the freedom we enjoy. Please know, though Columbia has a history of being inhospitable to our military, we are no longer silent.
We came, we saw, we shredded.