God Bless America. I love this country... I took a trip across our country to Florida. It was truly reaffirming to see our country in bits and pieces. Not since I was in law enforcement have I interacted with so many diverse people from all walks and sections of life. Not once did I have a negative encounter with another human. Although crowded and noisy in places, there were so many individuals along the way, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, nationality or gender, that were helpful, courteous and like our country a great panoply of people.
Eavesdropping, listening to other’s conversations and just observing people as we were crammed into our shoulder-width spaces or waiting for the next flight, is one of my favorite things to do. For eight days the only real downside to the trip was the unbelievable humidity in Florida where just sitting I sweat like, my grandpa used to say, “a boar hog.” (Can’t actually remember seeing a hog sweat, but that’s what he said.)
People were talking to each other and on their phones, but not once did I hear anyone mention politics, make racial slurs, mention political parties or anything remotely like hate speech or even disparaging remarks about America. What a relief to have silence from all the so-called news programs where that’s all they profess, talk about and make wild-eyed opinions about our divided nation. They want us divided. What bunkum!
You know what people talked about? Their families, their kids, their friends, their mortgages, qualifying for new and business loans or how they’d like to go see more of our great state and national parks. They talked about paying off credit cards, moving to new jobs and how much gas, medicine and groceries cost.
The one discouraging thing was how many people are addicted to their cell phones. [It really is the opiate of the masses.] Years ago at airports, train and bus stations or even sitting in our seats people would engage in casual conversation with the person next to them. I do miss meeting and talking with strangers and hearing about their part of the country and what they did for a living. I learned a lot about America and truly how united in purpose we all were. Those encounters widened my understanding of other people. Now you’re surrounded by folks bent over their ‘devices’ with ear buds and sound dampening earphones. One flight attendant had to get another passenger to nudge a person wearing earphones so she could talk to them.
We were sweltering in the 737 at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, because some computer glitch wouldn’t allow the A/C to come on. A female passenger to my left across the aisle didn’t have any ear obstructions, but was frenetically fingering her phone. I turned to her and made brief eye contact. Kidding, I suggested she might ‘text’ the Captain to see if he could turn the A/C on. She gave me an uncomprehending, deer-in-the-headlights look. I let it go even though the cabin temperature was rising to a level that would make a dog transpire. It felt like being a baby trapped in a car seat with no option to roll down the window.
Anyway, the whole point of the trip was to attend my son-in-law’s promotion ceremony at Hurlburt Field [USAF/SOCOM]. Great to witness his military friends from the Air Force, Army and Marines and some of their wives. One retired friend he’d served with drove from Ohio. Very cool. His commanding officer explained how my son-in-law had been instrumental in several operations overseas I can’t reveal, and how he’d taken the initiative on some very complicated missions. I didn’t know he’d been given six (6) Air Medals while doing his job under tough (understatement) conditions. Six! Wow!
Of course, it was great seeing my daughter, who like other military wives, also serves. She and his sister (former USAF officer and AF Academy grad) pinned on the new silver oak leaves. The wives are the practical part of the larger military family that keeps everything together. The wives are the unsung heroes of this two-decade “War on Terror.” Hurrah for them! It was terrific my two grandsons witnessed their Dad honoured in the closed military setting.
It was further, reaffirming that evening. Like any such momentous occasion, there was a promotion party and bar-b-que. The thing that will stick with me and gives me heart is these ‘kids’ (thirty-somethings) that serve with my son-in-law were all dedicated to their duty, their families and their country. All those kids are real patriots, quiet in going about the mission.
Goodness, we all have a lot to be thankful for in those young people who serve. They let off some steam, but there wasn’t a negative word about politics, parties, the President, or any of the hate-filled rhetoric of the pundits on CNN, NBC or MSNBC use to divide us and deride the people who try to protect us. When I got home, I didn’t want to turn on any news because the ‘mainstream’ just fills us with manufactured negativism and biased distortions of what’s really happening out there.
These guys and gals in the armed forces and law enforcement know the ‘real’ world. After meeting these young men and women I can say the so-called news platforms have no idea what crap they are spewing and hurting those who serve. The few news organisations that laud our services are too far and few between.
Yes, sir, reaffirming. Be thankful for all those who serve.
One last thing. Thanks to the local readers who’ve caught me on the street and complimented me on these ramblings. It’s also reaffirming. Writers live for praise from their audience. Adulation is welcome too. [Just kidding.] It’s my promise to you all that I will never “talk down to” or “dumb it down” for readers.
Blessings and Peace. Give peace a chance. Give hate a rest, smile and be happy. We have so much to be thankful for.