Operation Hero Miles
Roland is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
I am a patriot. I cherish the Constitution, the Second, and the First Amendments in that order. I feel it is the duty of all patriots to instantly vote out of office any who attempt to reduce the scope or brilliance of this Holy Trinity.
Nearly every year during the week of Independence Day I will sit and watch the entire Gettysburg multi-DVD movie. Yes, I used to watch the VHS version prior to getting DVD. I watch it while others celebrate “the birth of the nation” because this is where we defined the nation in terms of what we would and would not tolerate.
Oddly enough, the first shots fired in this conflict came from a man and his sons who had no earthly reason to join the fight other than an overriding belief that this nation could not live up to its Constitution unless those same rights and freedoms were provided to ALL within its borders. This same man later walked 27 steps from the courthouse to the gallows and when the trap door let loose, the first battle hymn of the Union Army was given birth: “John Brown’s Body.” A small but growing number of historians and history buffs have begun to put forward the idea that our founding fathers may have birthed the nation with the Declaration of Independence and fight for freedom, but John Brown was the stepfather who finished raising the child. This topic is receiving more and more media play with the recent uprising over immigration reform.
Some consider the Civil War the darkest period in our nation’s history, but I do not. I consider that period Viet Nam. Not the war, but the spitting on troops returning from it, people calling them baby killers, and truth be told, the creation of Hanoi Jane. No matter how unjust a war, troops who answered their nation’s call should never be treated in such a way.
I was reminded of all this again today when Governor Quinn appeared on television fronting for United Airline’s (NYSE: UAL) participation in Operation Hero Miles. Being from Illinois, I realize that a governor from here might not be the best pitch person for a charity since we just finished putting two-in-a-row in prison. Heck, we might toss this one in prison for no other reason than we like things happening in threes, like championships.
Be honest with yourself. If you are like 80% of the people “banking miles” with a credit card, you’re never going to use them. At one point I had enough miles banked to fly round trip first class to the UK and cover two nights in hotels, but I never booked the vacation. Given the current global economy who really wants to risk taking a vacation? If United hadn’t come up with an on-line gift catalog that let me use those miles to purchase all of last year’s Christmas presents without spending a dime, I would still have all those miles.
Tonight, I did what every good patriot should do. I went to this Web site:
and donated my miles to Operation Hero Miles so those who were wounded defending that Constitution and are spending Christmas in hospitals far away can have loved ones come visit them.
What? You aren’t a patriot? You actually believe “someday” you’ll take that vacation you’ve been talking about since you started banking miles? Well, if you’re a shareholder, you should realize something. All of those miles you’re banking, they are a liability on UAL’s balance sheet. UAL has to pay accountants to come up with dollar amounts for all of those miles based upon future flight costs. Coughing up those miles for charity is making the balance sheet of your investment better and at least one soldier's Christmas brighter.
Here's one more belief for you. I believe that if everyone banking miles chose to donate them this year, no wounded service personel from any branch of the military will have to spend Christmas in the hospital without their family beside them. Now isn't that the kind of Christmas present you really want to tell people you helped get for someone?