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Well Done – A Lesson In Honor

img_9254These two adorables attended the world famous Rose Parade this past Monday, January 2nd and this photo of them ended up in the local newspaper.  Thanks to some very generous friends, our group had very coveted front row seats at the parade.  What these girls and everyone around them witnessed though, was much more than just pretty floats and marching bands.  One the members of our group happened to be the grandfather of one of the girls and a U.S. Army veteran who served in Vietnam.  He also now, some 50 years later, happens to be dealing with the physical results of exposure to chemicals he came in contact with during the war.  He presses on without complaint or mention of his illness but it is harder and harder to do the day to day things most of us take for granted. Like going down stairs or getting in and out of a chair or standing.

Yet despite the physical difficulty it was for him, we all witnessed his quiet determination to stand to his feet when the American flag passed with a marching band made up of American soldiers, first from the Marine Corp. and then later the Air Force.  He stood to show respect and to honor that flag and those soldiers who are serving their country now,  just as he did nearly 50 years ago.

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The United States Air Force Total Force Band performs in the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Jan. 2, 2017. The USAF Total Force Band kicked off the Air Force 70th Birthday celebration playing several venues in Southern California culminating with their appearance in the 128th Rose Parade. The band is comprised of active duty and Air National Guard musicians from around the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Louis Briscese)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Louis Briscese)

What made this so very touching to me was that we live in a time when people of all ages and ethnicities are focused on their rights and entitlements.  Some are quick to criticize and protest their country and its flag with little or no regard for the men and women who everyday are fighting and sacrificing to give them that right.  Yet here was someone whose service to his country cost him his health and the ability to do simple things that most of us never give a thought to.   And though no one could blame him if he was angry or bitter if he felt he had the right, or was entitled to be out protesting what happened to him as the result of serving his country and defending that flag, he was the very first one to his feet when he saw others who are serving passing by.  He was not focused on the matter of his rights and entitlements, standing was, for him, a matter of honor.

What a powerful lesson for the young ones there on that curb on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California.  What a powerful lesson to all of us who saw it.  Not too long ago I overheard another of this granddaughters, Savannah, involved with some children in a discussion about fictitious characters who were being deemed heroes.  “Well”, she said, “I know a REAL hero.  My Papa Guido was a soldier during the war and he fought for his country, and I think that makes him a real live hero!” So do we Savannah…so do we.  So we say to this one who is daily, now, paying a very high price for defending our freedom and yet choses honor over complaint or criticism,  …. WELL DONE!


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