What would our war dead think of the freedom for which they died?

"They can follow you with these phones?" asks a sailor who served with John Paul Jones. "Why don't you call them dog collars instead?"

They'd be amazed at those new large-screen, high-definition televisions, with movies and sports, including baseball.

"That's baseball?" says a Civil War veteran. "That's what it is?"

And they'd learn about patents pending for devices like one that allows the TVs to listen to what we free Americans say in our homes, whether we argue with our spouses, or play with our dogs. And then the TV will send targeted ads to the home, ads for marriage counseling, ads for Prozac, ads for dog food.

Other gizmos allow the TV to recognize faces, and determine how many people are watching. And other technology stores our electronic correspondence, and searches for hints of bad tidings, in the name of keeping us free, says the guide.

"I don't feel so good," says a WWI infantryman on the tour. "I feel queasy in the stomach."

"OK, then," says Federal Guide. "Let's watch the news."

One story shows Republicans who've gorged on political contributions from defense contractors pushing for war after war in the name of freedom. ... Another explains the Democratic Obama administration scandal of the IRS targeting conservative and tea party political groups before the presidential election.

Yet another report focuses on Benghazi, and the former secretary of state defending herself, and the four Americans left to die there, including the two former Navy SEALs who fought for hours on the rooftops, waiting for help that never came.

The Returned watch, say nothing, then stare at their boots.

"There's still so much for you to see," says Federal Guide. "Let's get to it."

But the Returned say they're tired of the freedom tour.

"Look, uh, the guys just want some barbecue before we go back home," says the sailor. "I haven't eaten anything since I was on the Bonhomme Richard, and I could sure use a drink."

Visibly upset, Federal Guide tries to stop them. "There's so much to do," he whines, biting his lip.

"No thanks, we're done," says the sailor. "I mean, like she said on TV, what difference, at this point, does it make?"

— You know that Memorial Day isn't about barbecue. But it does mark the beginning of the grilling season. So if you're looking for some of my favorite recipes and videos, you'll find them on my Facebook page at facebook.com/JohnKassTribune.


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