I'm getting a lot of forwarded emails these days with this quote appended at the bottom:
"If you can read this, thank a teacher! If you are reading it in English, Thank a Veteran"
I totally agree with the first part.
Countless thousands of U.S. Veterans have given their lives so that us Americans can enjoy Freedom: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. All rights, which were self-evident to Thomas Jefferson 230 years ago and remain so today.
Notice that "The English Language" doesn't appear in the Declaration of Independence, nor the Constitution, nor the Bill of Rights. And last time I checked, English is not the official language of the USA (I'm not even sure it's the official language of England, but that's another Wikipedia search, for another day). It's pure happenstance that English is the language that Americans speak today. There's no reason to believe that the American version of Democracy (which I believe, is what our military is defending), could not have sprung from people who speak French. Or Mandarin Chinese.
English is not, in and of itself, superior to other languages. It so happens that in the world today, English is a "common language" that many people around the world learn as a second (or third, or fourth) language -- this is mostly due to American culture permeating the entire globe. So what if American culture spoke Arabic instead?
I guess the reason the little quote bothers me so much is, it sounds like xenophobia. Which leads to racism, stereotyping, misunderstanding, and fear of people different from "us." Which leads to problems. More war. More bigotry. More senseless hurt.
Maybe this is more appropriate: "If you're reading this without fear, thank a Veteran." But maybe that's too esoteric of a concept for an email forward.