We spent a wonderful Memorial Day in our hometown. Aside from seeing my cousin, BG, the Marine who heads to train-up very soon, we spent time taking in the small town traditions. A parade, a gathering to honor the fallen, some prayers, lots of flags, and the 21-gun salute.
We didn't see protesters as some had to endure today of all days. Those whose self aggrandizing ways lead them to trample on even the one day where politics should have no part. Where ignorance should step aside and the very basic tact should encourage you to stay home if you cannot be respectful.
I'm sure there are people in my town unrelated to the military except in very distant branches of their family trees. I'm also sure there are people amongst those who attended today who do not agree with our current administration and/or Iraq being a current theater. And, I also think there were a good many people who would have handed out an ass whooping unlike anything I'd ever witnessed had someone pulled out a protest sign and interrupted the very solemn service we had today. The rest of us would have held their hats or purses, I'm sure, while they took care to remind the rabble rousers of proper behavior.
It isn't because I'm from some backwater town in the middle of nowhere...even if that's how some of my more metropolitan friends would describe it. No, it isn't that at all.
It's because where I'm from people know the value of humility, hard work, and family.
They say hello and hold the door for you, even if they don't know you.
You're welcome at school, at church, at a bar stool in the coffee shop. And, if you needed something, you would find a neighbor willing to give you whatever it is and show you how to use it.
People where I'm from don't look at a man or a woman who was willing to sacrifice life itself as someone with a 'wasted' life. We don't look at them as ignorant. Or naive. Or pawns. We see them for who they truly are...the bravest. The brightest. The best. Certainly better than most of us even on our best days.
I'm glad I grew up where I did because even though my kids are not, they will receive the best of what that town has to offer. My girls love to wave their flags at the parade and know to keep them off the ground. They understand that the flag is a symbol of something very special and there are rules to respecting it properly.
They know to bow their heads when called to prayer. They know from watching that men remove their hats during the Star Spangled Banner, during taps and when we pray. They also know it's okay for grandpa to get teary-eyed at Memorial Day when he thinks of his youngest brother who has wounds from Vietnam that you can't physically see, but you know are there all the same.
And, they understand that when we honor soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, we are talking about Daddy. And Daddy's friends. And BG. And all the military men and women we write to, send care packages to, and for whose safe return we pray.
For those who had to endure protests today, I'm sorry. It's reprehensible and it's wrong.
I'd love to invite you to my hometown next year, but it might be better if you invite my hometown to yours.