Monday, September 5, 2011
Labor Day ~ A Day For Reflection
I just spent a fun afternoon today with friends at a local parade. Some friends I already knew and others were ones I just hadn't met yet. My daughter is a high school junior this year and while she's an active viola player in her school's orchestra, this year she decided to join the color guard as well to be part of the high school marching band. Today they marched in the Romeo Peach Festival Parade. The weather left a little to be desired. Just two days ago we had a high temperature for the day of 95 degrees. Today it hovered right around 59 degrees, with plenty of low grey clouds in the sky, a light wind that made it feel much cooler and an occasional light drizzle thrown in just to keep things interesting.
I was amazed by several things today. The camaraderie of the band booster families that were there to support their children could not have been more evident. Everyone brought a dish or snack to share. There was a lot of food and no one went hungry. They even grilled hot dogs for the band students so they'd have food once they found their way back to our make-shift camp following the parade.
The parade brought the usual sights of clowns riding bicycles, Shriners driving small cars, policemen riding well groomed horses, marching bands playing their school songs, cheerleaders cheering, firetrucks sounding their horns, and several local dignitaries walking along to smile and shake hands. But what tugged at my heart the most was seeing the veterans march by. Young ones and old ones. There were veterans from WWII and there were mothers marching along holding pictures of their sons who are currently serving. The beautiful part was the cheering, clapping, and people getting up and out of their chairs to wave and salute the veterans. There was one man (who I know from my church who is the father of two teenagers) sitting nearest to the curb with his family. He had obviously served in the military at some point. He wore a polo shirt with the American flag on it and a hat that had several military patches on it. When the WWII veterans went by he stood proudly and saluted them. One of the veterans stopped and walked over to him, looked him straight in the eye and saluted back at him. They exchanged a few private words and the older veteran placed some sort of a makeshift medal on a red, white and blue ribbon around the man's neck. The crowd grew extremely quiet and just observed. I don't know what words they shared and it really wasn't any of my business, but at the same time I felt extremely honored to be witnessing such a solemn moment. When it was all done, one woman seated a few feet away said 'Wow, I didn't know I was going to cry today. That was beautiful.'
In the midst of letting the small children experience the laughing clowns and the moments of scrambling for the candy that was being thrown to the curbs, they got to see people young and old showing respect to perfect strangers. What a wonderful act to share with them.
There is so much busyness in the world today, so many agendas, so much turmoil, so much loss of hope for so many. Be sure to keep your eyes and your hearts open and ready. A 'respectful' moment can occur at any given time. It'd be shame to miss it. They can mean so much to everyone involved.