Recently I took a tourist cruise on the Mississippi River and just so happened to find myself sharing the boat with those celebrating a World War II reunion with others from their Navy warship. It has been almost 70 years since the war ended and these men were waving the American flag and singing “Anchors Aweigh,” “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful” with as much vigor and patriotic pride as I would have imagined they had back in the 1940s.
I always think of veterans like these when I see politicians pledging allegiance to the flag, swearing an oath to uphold the Constitution, or singing “God Bless America” on the steps of our capital like happened after 9/11. I think about my grandfathers who served in WWII. I think about men I knew and met who served in Vietnam. I remember their stories and I remember the sacrifices they made to fight for others’ freedom. I also remember how badly fighting those wars messed some of them up psychologically.
For instance, I know my grandfather never got over what he saw in WWII. And I once watched a close family friend have a war flashback after viewing a TV show about the Vietnam War. He stared motionless and zombie-eyed for 20 minutes. To this day, I shudder to think what he must have been thinking about.
But then, those who serve and have served in the U.S. military are men of integrity; the best of the best of what America has to offer. They sacrificed because they believed in giving freedom to others no matter what it cost them.
So when I read that Belleville, Kansas was threatening a veteran’s service dog by giving him an ultimatum to either give up the dog, or remove it from the city, my blood boiled. Veteran Bo Ready acquired his “pit bull” “Diesel” at the advice of his doctor after having returned from his tour of duty in Egypt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mr. Ready was unaware that Belleville, the only town he had ever called home, had a long-standing “pit bull” ban (as well as a ban on Boxers and Rottweilers).
Mr. Ready, whose “pit bull” he says calms him down, explained how his troubles with the Belleville City Council began:
In July, a Belleville police officer came to his home and alerted him to the city ban on pit bulls. Ready was eventually issued a citation.
. . . Ready said Belleville has never enforced the ordinance before even though there are other violators.
“I’ve seen many dogs around here that are illegal. It seems like they targeted me because I have my dog out in the public,” he said. “I run my dog.”
So why would a city that doesn’t even bother to enforce its own “pit bull” ban care so much that Mr. Ready has a “pit bull”? Better yet, knowing that Mr. Ready has a “pit bull” that he uses as a therapy dog, why have they specifically targeted this veteran in order to make an example of him?
As I started out saying, elected officials swear an oath to uphold the Constitution when they take office and they most likely have had to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at some point in their careers. How, then, can they violate a war veteran’s constitutional rights and violate the justice and liberty for all outlined in the Pledge? Shameful.
And if Mr. Ready ever reads this, please tell us where we may make contributions to your legal defense fund.