Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Faith in the American People

My dad will occasionally forward chain emails.  They are never offensive, to me anyway, and many are quite inspirational.  Quite a few are patriotic and show support for our troops.

A recent email that he sent triggered a familiar response from me.  It is a fairly standard email that portrays our troops and citizens in a great light.

Will you give this to my Daddy?

As a Company, Southwest Airlines is going to support 'Red Fridays.'

Last week I was in Atlanta , Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed One of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camos. As they began heading to their gate, everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering.

When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and Cheered for, it hit me.. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal.

Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our Service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said 'hi..'

The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her...

The young soldier, who didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter's name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up.

When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second... Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it..

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, 'I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.' He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying 'your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.'

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet, he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.

As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the 'silent majority'. We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.

Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday - and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED.

The first thing a soldier says when asked 'What can we do to make things better for you?' is......We need your support and your prayers.

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example.

The emotional side of me connects immediately with this email and I tear up.

Unfortunately, I am also a cynic.  My cynical side reads this and thinks it is a made up story that someone is using to, at best, drum up support for the troops or at worst, the original author is just an egomaniac trying to see how many people will wear red on Fridays.

Truth be told, I hate this cynical me.  I'm literally ashamed of these cynical thoughts this when I read emails like this.

I really want to believe this email is genuine.   I really want to believe that the citizens of this great land appreciate those who protect us.  I know I am grateful to every man and woman who has served to keep me and my family safe and free and I attempt to thank our veterans and troops at every chance.

This weekend, my family and I got to watch the oldest 4th of July Parade in the country in Bristol, RI.  Thanks Mom and Dad!
3 Generations of Durtyfeets watching the parade (at right)

One of the parade divisions was for active military.  Each branch was represented.  While the branches passed, many of the spectators were standing and applauding loudly.  Everyone from our group was standing.  It was truly a wonderful site.

Other divisions had veterans groups and police and fire.  The crowd cheered for these divisions as well.
People even cheered for the sailors who were walking back down the parade route to get back to their ship.

It was great!

God bless America!  God bless our troops.

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