By Stacy Johnson
When I was younger, my husband was in the military. He joined when our oldest was about a year old. I was so excited about our new adventure together, I was ready to see the world. We were stationed at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the entire tour. Boring. But, it was a turning point in our marriage and the place where we figured out who we were and who we wanted to be. In that sense, it was fabulous and exciting and the best adventure I could have asked for. I loved our life in the military. I loved seeing my husband get dressed in his uniform each day (who doesn't love a man in uniform?), the military productions, the rules, the etiquette, the everyday patriotism. It was a good life.
But, it was a poor life too. We were enlisted and made very little money. The military for us, was a means to an end. They paid for his schooling, and while he was getting his education, he was working in the right field, gaining the experience he needed to make his education profitable for us. We got out as soon as he graduated.
I watched an HBO film last night called Taking Chance. It is the story of a Lt. Colonel in the USMC who volunteers escort duty for a fallen soldier. It shows the process of bringing a soldier home who has been killed in the line of duty. I was moved to tears more than once at the patriotism I felt and the respect that I witnessed others show for a PFC in the Marines Corp. It was incredibly touching.
The show was not politically directed, it was just that the Lt. Colonel himself was so moved that he wanted to write about it and then wrote a screenplay for it. It didn't hurt that Kevin Bacon played the Lt. Colonel and for a 52 year old guy, he is hot...but I digress.
I guess my point is, what happened to my patriotism? What happened to flying my flag on patriotic holidays? I am guilty of downplaying certain holidays like Flag Day. I miss saying the pledge of allegiance (my kids still get to say it everyday). I miss singing songs like "You're a Grand Old Flag" or "Fifty Nifty United States" at school productions. I am grateful for this country and proud to be a citizen, regardless of who is running our country or whether I agree with policies or not. I am an American citizen and I am proud and I am going to do a better job of showing my patriotism. What kind of things can you think of to show our patriotism? They can be big or small. (Don't forget Veteran's Day is coming up in November, we will be taking our annual trip with my husband to the Souper Salad in his honor, why? I don't know, but that is our tradition. I think we will go to a parade too. I'll let you know what we do.)
Suggested Read: No Ordinary Joes by Larry Colton (I can't wait to get my hands on this book) Check it out here.