Memorial Day, Texas Hill Country, Uncategorized, Wounded Warriors

Memorial Day Came Early


Wounded Warriors and their families on a weekend visit being greeted by local Fredericksburg, Texas, folks in the Market Square.

Memorial Day is here again and in our home it is a day with lots of memories. I really think I processed this year’s Memorial Day a few weeks back when I went to a Wounded Warrior event in the Marktplatz ( Market Square) of Fredericksburg, Texas.

My husband sings in a Fredericksburg chorale with a group of very talented locals. They were asked to be part of the program in the park for Wounded Warriors and their families who were visiting Fredericksburg for the weekend. For me, seeing military members and their families is a very meaningful way of visualizing what Memorial Day is all about today, as well as in the past.

I married into a family where my husband, his father, and his brother served in the  Navy. My husband was a Hospital Corpsman assigned at a Marine Corps Air Station. I went to work as a civilian there and then worked for the  Army at Fort Riley, Kansas, while he was in college (again). From there we moved to Denver where I worked for the Air Force for 11 years. I figure between us, my husband and I have all the services covered and I am familiar with all their songs; well except that Coast Guard one which I only recognize through the process of elimination

As the chorale practiced before the guests arrived on a bus, they sang a medley of the songs from each branch of the military services. The Army’s song was first. I remember some of the words from their song, but the musical experience I remember from my time at Fort Riley occurred when I was probably around 26 years old. I was walking on Post to go to a meeting at a building down the street from my office. As I looked up I saw some troops in formation out for a morning run. As they got near,  they all looked straight ahead, didn’t miss a step and loudly shouted a cadence directed at me. In unison they sang, “Hey girl—Looking Good— You Belong in Hollywood. Then they continued down the road passing by buildings which had once been horse stables for the Calvary. That was a memorable moment and one which probably wouldn’t be appropriate anymore, but these were infantry soldiers. I have often wondered how many came home safely from their deployments and assignments.

The chorale next sang the Marine Corps hymn which I recognized from having lived on a Marine Corps installation and hearing it on the radio over the years.  Then the Coast Guard song followed and I listened carefully in effort to familiarize myself with it in hopes of recognizing the tune in the future.. The Navy song came next.  With all the Navy folks in our lives, that one was easy to sing along with and to think back on wars won and peace enjoyed, because of the contributions of sailors like my husband and his family.

As the chorale moved through songs for the different military services, I remained seated. Then the Air Force song started. My body reacted instantly. I had spent ten years working in an Air Force headquarters level organization which served the Air Force worldwide community of active duty and retired military members. This meant that over the years, I and some of my co-workers, logged a lot of hours in meetings, ceremonies, and events listening to the Air Force song. So, I knew I was supposed to stand up, clap and start singing to “Off we go into the wild blue yonder…”. I considered staying seated so I would not be noticed by a crowd of people I didn’t know. My instincts and years of training overtook my body and I stood up moved to the side of the picnic area and sang away. I reminisced, cried a few tears, and smiled a lot. As the Wounded Warriors arrived and the chorale sang the medley again, it was exciting to see the military members and their families sing along and stand up to recognize “their” branch of service. On the way home my husband and I talked about how unexpectedly emotional the day had been for us.

As I have grown older, or clearly past middle age as my son tells me, I now understand that some people have never experienced working in a place where Reveille is played in the morning and the flag is raised, Taps are played at the end of the day during retreat as the flag is lowered, and that driving or walking during these times is not respectful or acceptable. Yes, sometimes we were tempted, but we knew better! I came to enjoy those few minutes of Taps at the end of the day before I dashed off into rush hour traffic. It was tranquil and inspirational.

As I said, Memorial Day came early for me this year.



Encouragement, Families, Hope, risk, Shared Values, Texas Hill Country, Uncategorized

A Good Moment

This blog is my guilty pleasure.  It allows me to share my thoughts in hope that someone else will find some value or learn something along the way.  I post when something really special sticks in my consciousness and it seems worth sharing.

Last week our nation had a moment. It was a good moment.  There was energy, cooperation, hope, imagination, and even teamwork.

There we were in all our glory for the world to see.

The moment centered on the recent record $1.6 billion U.S. Powerball lottery.

People openly and willingly gave some of their money to purchase a Powerball ticket or tickets. Some joined Powerball pools where contributions were collected from a group of people with the agreement that in the event the team won, the proceeds would be shared. Think about it. People who may not share the same opinions about hot button issues like war, abortion, legalizing marijuana, immigration, and gun control were more focused on reaching for a goal and taking a chance, than they were in in rallying for their individual causes or agenda. They also willingly became involved with people who might not share their religious or political beliefs. For the moment, it was all about that huge pile of money and  ticket holders enjoying the equal opportunity chance to win or lose.  There was a rather carefree and hopeful attitude which began to spread across the country. The world took notice too.

It first clicked for me at the moment when I was getting a cup of coffee in a public place and observed a man with a list talking to people he really didn’t know well. Where I live this means they may not go worship where he does, might be politically liberal (which is very uncommon here), might be poorer or richer financially then he is, or simply someone who just doesn’t move in his social circle. This man was encouraging others, male and female, to consider contributing to a Powerball pool. The paper was his list of participants.

In that one moment I knew that much of the divisiveness in our nation was being displaced, for a moment, by a desire for people to share in a common goal. People became more interested in what they could win by just taking a  small financial chance on the unknown, and maybe even on each other.

Social media and good old fashioned verbal conversations began among people about how they would spend, invest share, gift,  or use the money. Yes, the dreams were big, but the process was fun, exciting, and hopeful. Who knows, maybe those who didn’t win will still move forward on those dreams and encourage others who put their dreams out there.

Yes, we had a good moment. Here’s hoping for many more.