Monday, January 10, 2011

And The Rockets' Red Glare

One day a couple of weeks ago, Alan came home a bit early from work so that I could go to the commissary.  I didn't know what time it was, exactly, but I knew I needed to hurry so I could still get home in time to make dinner.  As I pulled up, parked and got out of the car, I heard the music...and then I knew exactly what time it was.  It had to be 5:00 because the Japanese National Anthem was being played for the entire base to hear, and it would be followed by the Star Spangled Banner.  Now, on military installations, when the Anthem plays every day, we stop whatever we're doing - walking, driving, jogging, whatever - and we respect the flag, the country, each other, for just a few minutes.  Granted, if we don't happen to hear the music, we don't run outside at 5:00 and do it anyway.  Well, some may, I guess, but for me, I don't hear it every day.  So I stood next to my car and waited for the drum roll, then placed my hand over my heart.  There are a couple of songs that, no matter how many times I hear them, move me to tears: Amazing Grace, At Last (you know why if you were at my wedding), He Stopped Loving Her Today,  Tears in Heaven, probably a few others, and the Star Spangled Banner.  So there, in the commissary parking lot, I was brought to tears by the National Anthem that day, as I am every time.  (Side note:  This is really getting to be a problem because it is played at every promotion, change of command, and official function we go to and it's a little embarrassing to cry in public.)  As the song ended, I turned toward the store to walk in, and that's when it really hit me - I saw the mass of people who were either also getting out of their car or were exiting the stores, and had stopped to pay respect to the flag, the country, each other...and it looked amazing.  It brought a sense of hope during quite a big crisis that was going on at that time in this part of the world.  Here we were, all here together, paying a few minutes of respect to our country.  The country we each serve, in one way or another, every single day.  And every one of those people could have kept going about their business.  I mean, you're supposed to stop, but I doubt you'll get a ticket for not stopping.  You would look like a jerk around here, though, I'll tell you that.  I didn't see a single person moving around while the music was playing.  We all stopped.  For two minutes, we all had the same purpose and that felt pretty powerful to know.  I think it's pretty awesome that one song can mean so much to so many people and playing the Star Spangled Banner every day is a military tradition that I am proud of.  I think all communities throughout our country could stand to take a page from the military handbook and pay a little respect to the flag every day.  Maybe if we were all reminded daily of what we're all fighting for and standing for, then things like the recent massacre in Arizona would never happen.  At the end of the day, don't we all really have the same goals?  I don't know...just a thought.

So, then, on Saturday morning, we sat down to watch the Cotton Bowl - Alan, Adam and I.  Of course, they played the National Anthem and, of course, I started to tear up.  The kicker:  Adam began singing along to the music.  Really singing, trying his best to hit all the notes.  Forget it, I totally lost it.  I was so incredibly proud of him for recognizing the song and recognizing the respect the song required - he actually told Alan and me to put our hands over our hearts.  I know that raising him in an environment that respects our country will teach him to respect it and its values and I am proud to be raising our children as Air Force brats.  They're the best kind of brats there are ;-)


Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more! Amen!

Karen and Chris said...

Now I'm in tears. Great post. I miss you, Amy.

"Miss Bee" said...

Great post - and I'm the same way... no matter who is singing it or where I am, I get teary-eyed too. Especially at "gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." I love that Adam is already singing it too!

I would love to see everyone stand still, I'm sure it really is a moving and powerful thing to see.

Amy said...

I'm glad you guys like the post. You know, it's just something we always take for granted, and sometimes it's even a pain to stop what we're doing - it might make us late! But, for some reason, that day, it all hit me. I love that we stop for five minutes to reflect. Good stuff.