American Flag being taken down after use at retirement ceremony

Camping, a Rule, and the Flag

Happy Veterans Day to all of my Brothers and Sisters in service to our great Nation! Over the past five weeks we focused on gratitude toward others. This is the final of six posts originally done on Facebook in June of 2020. The message then was aimed at the value folks bring to our lives. This message remains the same, probably more now than it did then.

Six of Six

We were out camping last weekend and I was enjoying a cup of coffee in the peaceful still of the morning. You know, the occasional fire being re-stoked, a quiet wave from another campsite, a couple squirrels scurrying about in the cool breeze. A quiet, peaceful morning. My favorite part of any day, especially camping.

Man, there sure is a lot of “stuff” going on in our Country right now. Thoughts generated while I stared across the green grass toward the playground, closed due to health concerns. But what can a guy really do about it? I’d seen and heard plenty recently regarding a few hot button topics on social media, the news. But it sure didn’t seem like any of it was truly helping much.

I got to thinking about all the people I knew who were not at all like me and had impacted my life’s journey in very real ways while in the military. There were only a couple I ever ran across fitting the bill, “white kid from Southern Indiana”. And one of them was my own cousin- a great mentor in her own right.

There were vastly more who were from other places, other cultures. New York, Texas, even the Philippine Islands. Sailors who grew up in greatly varying circumstances, their daily realities quite different from my own. Shipmates who truly strove to epitomize Honor, Courage, and Commitment in their dealings with one another. Who wanted nothing more than to make a good life for themselves, for their Families, to serve their Country.

These were the people who selflessly took it upon themselves to re-direct and refocus a young sailor who had plenty of energy, who knew how to work hard, and wanted to do a good job. A kid, who despite these qualities, was still in great need of the more than occasional nudge at the rudder to fly the right direction.

If we’re really honest with ourselves, the great majority of us treat other people the way we’d like to be treated. We do our best to follow the Golden Rule, intentionally or otherwise. We take the time to help other people, pay it forward when someone does us right. These are the things the people I wrote about over the past five days did. Someone had done them right somewhere along the way and they appreciated it. They took it upon themselves to pay it forward.

Perhaps we continue to help others in our own ways. Communicate respectfully with each other to figure out what works, what doesn’t work, compromise, and get the job done. Come together to hold up the Flag in a way that is respectful and beneficial to all of us, regardless of where we come from.

Come to think of it, maybe we aren’t so different after all.

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