That's why I love America.

A Day Brightener
from a mate in Australia

Masonic Emblem of U.S.-Australian Friendship from 1908

By David Cooper
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As an Australian, I understand that the arrival of U.S. troops in Australia in 1942 altered and redefined who we were as a nation. Alongside of the arrival of U.S. troops came with it the American culture, which we embraced. Just briefly, ever since I can remember, I have had an overt love for anything and everything American. When I was a lad, about 10 years old, an elderly woman gave me a pair of age worn trousers she claimed were part of an American Confederate soldier's uniform, as a reward for running errands for her. Every time I wore those trousers, I daydreamed and whistled 'Dixie'.

Due to military documentaries on TV and an excellent public library, I followed the U.S. into World War II from Pearl Harbour to Okinawa, from Normandy to Berlin.

My mother, who worked at a chocolate factory in Sydney during March 1942, recalled to me the fear of imminent Japanese invasion of Australia, with news that large scale Japanese landings had taken place in New Guinea and that Timor was overrun. Britain had our troops and we were broke.

Then the Americans arrived and changed the course of the war.

Cover of a Song Book from 1942
"Kilroy" was here too, along with the battle cry 'Over there', and I have always deeply respected the fact that many of those Kilroy inscriptions happened after bloodshed during active duty. "Kilroy Was Here" belongs enshrined synonymous with the courage and determination of the many servicemen who didn't come home. The price of victory and defeat by the end of 1945 was a staggering 55 million dead. Personally, I cannot fathom the extent of grief of those who will never forget. Yet, you and I know that many people today hardly give it a thought and worse still, records are often set to be broken.

John Curtain, Australia's Labour Prime Minister from the war years of 1941 to his untimely death in July 1945, changed our relationship with Britain with his famous New Year's statement, and I quote: ' Without any inhibitions of any kind, I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links of kinship with the United Kingdom' Since that time anybody picking a fight with the U.S., has had to contend with us as well.

Earlier this year, President Bush broke with tradition and visited the Australian Embassy in Washington, D.C., (the first U.S. President to do so) where he honored our Prime Minister. J.W. Howard. It didn't receive the media coverage that I thought it deserved. Bush had hit an all time low in U.S. polls and Rumsfeld was the getting the bum's rush by prominent U.S. army generals there . . . Anyway, I recalled a Jewish proverb, which says "Never will I be ashamed to greet a friend of mine, never deny myself to him. Let harm befall me for his sake, I care not. And all that hear of it will keep their distance from him." My point being that we are indeed the different branches of the same tree and a twofold cord is not easily broken.

That's why I love America.