Happy holidays to our military

December 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

At our middle-school Christmas concert last night, I saw one of my favorite small-town vignettes during the “March of the Armed Forces”. Three, maybe four, generations of service people were in attendance and stood to represent their branch and be recognized. Each year I live here, I recognize a few more of those standing … so this year I felt for some fellow band parents when their son stood for maybe the first time as a representative of his military branch; for our band instructor when her father stood up as a long-time representative of his branch; and for many of the the eighth-grade parents serving active duty.

I grew up in a big city, too expensive for retirees to live on a limited income and so the average age in my community always stayed relatively young. It’s the kind of place people move to “make their fortune” or when their first marriage breaks up and they want a fresh start.

The town where we first moved to raise our girls was a fast-growth town with big, shiny, new houses and young families to match. Some of our parents moved in to be close to the grandkids and now the retirement community is growing there, but it’s not the organic growth that you see in a town where people rarely leave.

Our new town is historic, with a Main Street that pre-dates the Civil War and a sense of community all new to me. Support for our military is a shared community value. The first town settlers were veterans of the Revolutionary War who were granted land as payment. A major battle of the Civil War was fought inside the town limits and local homes were commandeered as field hospitals and headquarters for both the Confederacy and the Union. I witnessed the town’s continued dedication to service at our high school’s 100th anniversary Veteran’s assembly when my daughter was in JROTC and we had local veterans from every war all the way back to WWI attend and be recognized. Our Veteran’s parade in downtown is heavily attended, even in the middle of the week in the middle of the workday.

I come from a military family. My father was in the Navy. Both of my grandfathers were career military. I have eight different “patriot” lines in my ancestry documented with the Daughters of the American Revolution. I was raised to honor our military heritage even at a time when that was incredibly unpopular where I lived. I’m grateful that time is gone.

To all who are or have served I thank you and wish you a wonderful, peace-filled holiday season!

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