Roy Exum: To Kill An American

Thursday, February 8, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

It is alleged that in Pakistan about 10 years ago, there was an advertisement in the newspaper offering a reward for killing an American. In the way urban legends are made, today seems like a perfect time to share it because it was written so killers can recognize us. It is also because I’ve got a terrible cold and only want to nestle under my covers.

According to the legend, a dentist from Australia wrote this to help the people in Pakistan identify one of us:

"An American is English, or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be Canadian, Mexican, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani or Afghan.

“An American may also be a Comanche, Cherokee, Osage, Blackfoot, Navaho, Apache, Seminole or one of the many other tribes known as native Americans.

“An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them chooses.

“An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

“An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness.

“An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return.

“When Afghanistan was over-run by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country!

“As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan. Americans welcome the best of everything … the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best services. But they also welcome the least.

“The national symbol of America, The Statue of Liberty, welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.

“Some of them were working in the Twin Towers the morning of September 11, 2001 earning a better life for their families. It’s been told that the World Trade Center victims were from at least 30 different countries, cultures, and first languages, including those that aided and abetted the terrorists.

“So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo, and Stalin, and Mao Tse-Tung, and other blood-thirsty tyrants in the world. But, in doing so you would just be killing yourself. “Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.”

* * *

A ROOM WITH A VIEW

NOTE: Here is one my friend in Texas, Sandy Pohfal, sent along. It is also anonymous.

Two men who were both seriously ill occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. He came to know the window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.

Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young couples walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it. In his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

One morning, the nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse why his deceased roommate had always described such wonderful things outside this window. 

She said, "He always knew how much you enjoyed and were encouraged by the beauty outside the window."

Take a look. What can you do - right now - to put a smile on someone's face?

royexum@aol.com


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