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Reply #19: Mom also taught that one STOOD when a color guard in a parade passed by. [View All]

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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-15-08 10:45 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Mom also taught that one STOOD when a color guard in a parade passed by.
It may not be a US Federal law, but it was a LAW in our family. She was pretty adamant about it and it did make sense to us to show respect for the flag in a parade, as the symbol of military personnel and all those others who made this a great nation.

We saved our pennies (literally) and managed tickets for a bus ride and grandstand seats at the Rose Parade one year. When the first color guard went by, we stood up. Two old ladies behind us grumbled and complained and voiced hope that we didn't intend to do it each time "somebody with a stupid flag goes by".

When the color guard passed, we sat down. Mom did NOT. She drew up to her tallest height, spun around and proceeded to express her opinion that THAT COLOR GUARD, and all others, carried the same flag that thousands of US servicemen had fought and died under. That rising in salute to a color guard was not some empty gesture, done by rote, but rather a remembrance and salute to all those who have sacrificed for this great nation.

She also inquired if those biddies also liked to put down the youth of America for being lazy and not interested in their country. She asked if they belittled the 'kids who are just now taking to the street to protest the war in Vietnam, kids who were at least paying attention and getting involved in their democracy'. She did get a round of applause from everyone else within ear shot.

Go Mom.

She was of a generation that had many missing from any high school reunion. She learned and played drums in a swing band because the men were few and far between when she was young, but the USO needed bands in towns of any size and the ladies mustered to take on that small request for helping provide the chance to dance and forget war for just a little while for so many people who served.

Tribute and remembrance. Salute. So long as it is genuine and not something done by rote, I will have a double helping, thank you. But I also respect those who do not participate, so long as they don't whine that they are missing the parade.

I am also of a generation that has many missing from any high school reunion. If I wear a hat, it comes off during the anthem. If a color guard passes, I stop and stand erect, in silent tribute and remembrance, a salute to the multitudes I never had the honor to meet, but owe my nation to.

When Ford pardoned Nixon, I found myself choking on the last phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance. Mom and I attended a meeting where it was normally said and I feared what would happen when I was unable to get the words out. She noticed, but said nothing. On the way home, I told her I just couldn't say it because I had seen justice WAS NOT for all. She smiled. She was happy. I was not doing such things by rote or cultural conditioning. I THOUGHT about it each time. She told me it was good I could not lie and say the pledge if that was how it affected me now.

Next time we were together at a parade, she nudged me after the color guard had passed. 'Glad you can separate the bad men do from those who really served America.' I think I understood my mother's whole mission in life at that moment.

And I will stand when the flag goes by or the anthem is played. It is MY flag, not the property of bad men and women who use it for cover. While I do wish we, as a people, would change the national anthem from a poem about a war, sung to the tune of an old English drinking song, I will stand when it is played. Stand and go into my own private world of wishing peace to many who fell and many who face such peril still. Then, my mind reminds me to redouble my efforts to participate in democracy, that such people will not be misused and abused by bad leaders. So, yeah, I am thankful to take a stand. It reminds me what my mission is.

Happy Father's Day, Mom. I miss buying you something from the hardware store again this year.

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