7 come 11 …. a roll of the dice, gambling on our weakness

Historically, people have rolled dice betting on the outcome.

I was educated in a parochial school (Saint John the Evangelist in Silver Spring, MD).  That was a long time ago but I still remember some of the lessons I learned at the feet of the good Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I also recall lessons learned daily at recess.  It was a simpler time when television was broadcast over 3 channels in black and white.  I had to pass Heitmueller’s farm each day as I walked to and from school.  The land that would be filled with Wheaton Plaza was still a forest.  The ICC had just been added to the future plans for Montgomery County.  This was almost ten years after WWII had ended and America was involved in the Cold War.

Casting lots

Back to the lesson’s learned.  In our religion class, our teacher covered all of the major events in Christianity.  In the Spring,  my dreams of Mickey Mantle were interrupted by the focus on Passion Week and Easter.  In one of the lessons, it was explained to us that while Christ hung on the cross,  the soldiers in charge of the crucifixion decided the new owner of Christ’s robe by casting lots (a roll of the dice).  Now, in those days, the Romans that carried out the crucifixion were not considered “the good guys”.  Their act of gambling to decide on the new owner of Christ’s last possession was used as an example of why gambling was bad. (I didn’t stop to consider that this flew in the face of the parish weekly bingos or the game of “hooligan” offered at the annual carnival.)  The numbers 7 and 11 were forever burned into my brain.

The attack on Pearl Harbor  1271941

I don’t remember exactly when, but at some point the date December 7, 1941 was burned into my brain.  There wasn’t much shared about the politics of the time.  It is sad to say that the Holocaust wasn’t focused on very much. My memories of the lessons are vague, but the feeling of being attacked by those horrible “Japs” was the emotion that lingered.  If you were to ask any elementary school child about the attack on Pearl Harbor, you would hear the tale of innocent sailors being murdered on quiet Sunday morning.  You would here about “kamikaze” pilots and the ritual of “Hari kari”.  We did learn that the attack had a religious fervor to it. The response, from Roosevelt’s speech to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were the main focus of history lessons.  The message was clear.  We were attacked and we responded.  The nation, regardless of political affiliation, came together as one force.

The attack on New York  9112001

Sixty years and a couple of months later,  America was attacked again.  As confusing as world politics are today,  I think I have a good idea why we were targeted.  Oh, there have been claims that we brought the attack on ourselves because of our lifestyle. Some have suggested our involvement in the middle East is to blame.  The turmoil over what may have caused the attack has come later.  I remember best the response, from Bush’s speech to flags waving across the nation.  I remember the anger.  I remember the silence echoing gently from plane-less blue sky’s. Of course, then I remember the “religious” cloak the cowards attempt to use to obfuscate their questionable justification for murder.

Two days, one a seven and one an eleven.

Despots, zealots, terrorists and self-proclaimed mis-guided “saviors” are forever taking chances on destroying our country and changing our way of life.  We are far from a perfect union.  Individually and nationally we do make mistakes.  Those that are intent on our destruction will seize on any apparent error and attempt to paint us in a corner of “evil doers” while they hide in caves or behind closed doors espousing “self righteous’ indignation.  Their constant threat is the price we pay for the right to live as we do.  Their totalitarian myopic view can not tolerate our steadfast support of the ideals in which our nation was founded.  The freedoms we have as stated in the Bill of Rights are an anathema to our enemies.  We visibly agree to disagree on many issues.  Our congress of elected representatives may feature a majority from the right or the left, but they always represent us.

Snake eyes…also know as craps…you lose

I suppose that the future will continue to give birth to those that wish to destroy us.  We may collectively grumble about intrusive searches while boarding planes.  We may challenge the wisdom of our military actions.  We may decry the direction taken by our leaders.  And yes, while we grumble they will continue to gamble.  They will continue to perceive our discourse as weakness without understanding it is the basis of our strength.  The future will hold times when they will “roll the dice” again and again.  I have complete faith that they will continue to watch those proverbial dice tumble to a stop, snake eyes, at the end of each roll.  They will leave the table broke and broken.

After all, this is the United States of America.  This is a country where a boy can learn the hard lessons of losing cherished “flip cards”, wander through life and become a rather thoughtful grown man.  Sure, we have always had dice games and people have always gambled.  When all is said and done, those that gamble lose and any person, group or nation that thinks they are gambling on our weakness will learn they are challenging our greatest strength.  And that my friends is a losing bet, every time it has been made.

Thank you to all those that have served and allowed me the freedom to speak.


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