Wednesday, November 12, 2008

PATRIOTISM


I don't think that I was raised all that patriotic. Sure, we decorated our bikes with red, white, and blue streamers and went to the parade on the 4th of July. (I especially enjoyed the fireworks.) But truly patriotic? I don't think so. I think I took things for granted that should not have been taken for granted. But maybe that's what kids--and young adults--do.

Things started to change when Michael joined the Air Force--and then again when he was deployed to Qatar at the start of the Iraqi War. I saw things differently then. Patriotism became personal. Now, I'm moved by the flag. I'm moved by men and women in uniform. Moved when I hear the theme songs of the armed forces. Something wells up inside of me. Tears come--uninvited.

I am so proud of my son and the job he did for his country. I am so thrilled that he can now stand with so many others, knowing that he did the right thing by answering the call to serve. It changes a person. It changed him. It changed his mother.

Last night we attended a community tribute to the area veterans. It was unbelievable. I don't think I would have even attended it if my son had not served in the military. Even with the free food, it would not have been a priority to me. That is pretty pathetic. I am so glad that Tessa and the grandchildren were able to be part of the huge crowd of people offering thanks and appreciation through their smiles and applause. It was truly moving. I hope they *get it* at an earlier age than I. I think they will. At least the old folks in their lives are leading by example.

Today I read a post on a dear Canadian friend's blog that I found interesting. She wrote, "Remembrance Day to me has always been the eleventh month, eleventh day, eleventh hour, eleventh minute - all of my life in fact!" Really? I never heard that. All her life? I will say that this particular friend has traditions for traditions. I never met anyone who has more occasions to celebrate or commemorate or just plain have a good reason to make a cake. Love that girl!

She laments the loss of respect for the day set aside to remember what no one should ever forget. And here I didn't even know that it wasn't just an American holiday, but one to commemorate the end of World War I. I told you I wasn't raised patriotic, but that is no excuse. Sheesh, the day has come and gone over 50 times for me. Surely, somewhere along the way I could have done some more research. I could have thought more into it. I guess I was too busy shopping. Pathetic again.

Well, what's done is done. And the truth remains: The older I get, the dumber I feel. There is so much to learn; I wish I had started sooner.

1 comment:

edie+steve said...

So very true Denise. And I was sitting with someone who has a brother in Iraq at dance this past Tuesday. We talked and teared up....at the sacrifice that those men and their families have made throughout our history. We owe a debt of gratitude that cannot be paid! Thanks for the post.