On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when they return home, we leave no veteran behind.
Today was the town of Redford's annual Memorial Day Parade. It was a warm, bright and sunny day. The high water that the town recently suffered through were all but back to normal. The grass along the route was trimmed, the streets blocked and the crowd about average.
The sound of sirens rang out to start the parade. Police in their finest, firefighters who had dressed out their truck with the boots and coat of a recently lost comrade set the path for the honored veterans. They stopped the veterans so they were on the bridge between the American flag and the POW/MIA flag. These old soldiers in uniform stood in this heat as the bugle sounded, the wreath was honored and sent down the recently swollen waters, and the rifle fire filled the air.
A lot of people forgot to be quiet as the men and women were honoring those lost. Few knew to stand as their flag was carried by. But one little eleven year old girl knew to do both. She had her grandfather in mind when she looked at these men. She had heard her mother talk of the war he had fought and how the returning men were treated. She had read books and looked that war up on line. And she had heard many stories from veterans and the widows of soldiers. She stood as the flag passed and was silent to honor the dead.
As the soldiers, firefighters, and officers started to pass they noticed the little girl and the sign she had made. She stood out because she was the only one there with a sign. She stood out because she was young. She stood out because she was standing there not waiting for candy, but holding a sign that said "Thanks Veterans" with a small American Flag drawn on it.
She watched the men who were so much like her grandfather and thought of him. They all have stories, like Grandpa tells. They all have wounds they don't share, like Grandpa does. Grandpa may live a couple of states away but he has touched her young life enough for her to know how important it is to say thank you.
The marchers were just as touched by this young girl as she was by them. Some pointed her out to others, while others said, "You are very welcome." Even those who weren't veterans noticed and told the girl that they liked her sign. She stood there for the whole parade just be sure she didn't miss anyone. She said that you can never tell for sure who served if they weren't wearing their uniform.
As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
-John Fitzgerald Kennedy
It can be hard to know that we are teaching our children the right things and then they do something to show us that they are on the right track. Our actions are noticed by those who are watching when we don't know they are looking.
The girl watched other people, listened to them, and saw other kids scrambling for the candy. She heard them talk about the school bands, the Girl Scouts, and this church and that. She noticed the lack of remembrance that many showed. She mentioned that the other kids didn't understand what the parade was for. She was told that maybe others that she couldn't see or hear did. She wanted to know if it was talked about in other homes like it is in her's. She was told that it depended on the home. She had many questions by the time the parade was over and the streets opened for traffic.
I am going to ask you a few of those questions for her....
~ Do you remember the servicemen and women?
~ What do you to do to show your gratitude?
~ Do you teach your children about the past wars.
~ Do you know (and teach) the flag etiquette? (She said rules)
~ How do you say thanks?
Pray for Peace, Hope for better, and work for love.