This morning I headed out for my daily walk. In the distance I heard sirens and was reminded that the suburb my own town is adjacent to was having their annual Fourth of July parade, an easy walking distance away. I made a detour.
At the end of a street I came to kids, adults and dogs watching and waiting for the goodies. It's like trick or treat for the kids minus the costumes. Candy gets tossed from passing parade participants and the children go running. They even toss dog treats. I stood next to a nice woman and her Australian Sheepdog appropriately named Sydney. Even Sydney knew she would likely get treats today. It was a small parade. All the marching bands had opted to perform in bigger ones so there was only occasional recorded music. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, vintage cars, and then came a flatbed truck carrying a Marine, a Soldier, a Navy man. I started to applaud as did a few of the adults. Not enough in my opinion. The whole time we were applauding the kids kept scrambling for bits of penny candy like they were free passes to Six Flags. That bothered me, but I kept quiet.
No matter your feelings about the U.S.'s current role in the Middle East, these men deserve our thanks. I always make it a policy when I see someone in uniform to thank them. They need encouragement as much as we do. I lived through the Viet Nam era when returning soldiers and marines were treated like dirt because the war was so distasteful. Most of those men had been drafted and had no choice but to go. This time we have no draft yet men and women choose to go. They deserve to be thanked.
I am so blessed to have been born in the U.S.A.