Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Thank You For Your Service
Every day, Old Glory flies proudly at the entrance to Canyon Vistas RV Resort in Gold Canyon, Arizona, where we are spending the winter. This is the view one evening as the sun was setting on the Superstition Mountains to the north.
Today is Veterans' Day and the resort had a parade that ended at the flag pole for a flag raising ceremony. It was perhaps the quietest parade we have ever seen, but a number of people staying here decorated their golf carts, bikes and motor cycles to participate. The parade began with a truck carrying two accordion players who are here for an RV rally. They played patriotic songs as they rode the parade route.
Here are some other parade participants.
In any Arizona snowbird resort, you will find lots of Canadians. It gets cold, really cold, up north during the winter. One parade participant wore his Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform. We once saw a unit of these Mounties participating in the Skagway, Alaska, 4th of July parade. They patrol the US-Canadian border not far away.
As the parade passed by, those of us staying here follow along to the flag pole at the entrance.
There were flags for each of the branches of the US military.
Before the flag raising, we sang the Star Spangled Banner. I always choke up and my eyes fill with tears when I sing that. I'm not a very emotional person, but thinking of how that was written (we have been to the fort where it was composed) and what our freedom means to me, to our country and the world, always makes me teary-eyed. We also sang (OK, I listened) Oh Canada, the Canadian national anthem. Their military often fights alongside ours around the world. Then the large United States flag was raised up the pole.
Shelly Glaus, activity director here, gave a moving speech about her father, who was a prisoner of war during World War II, and a saying they had hanging on their wall as she grew up, talking about the value of supporting our country, being willing to serve and die for it, and the fact that some things are so important, so valuable, we must be willing even to die for them.
Our family has many members that have served in the military. Our older son Doug, seen here at his wedding to Sherry in 1998, served in the US Marine Corps for 23 years, seeing action in Kuwait and Iraq, as well as Panama and other places.
John's brother, one brother-in-law, two nephews, the husband of a niece, my uncle and John's cousins have all been in the service. And the history of family members who have fought for our country goes back to the Spanish American War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, and The Revolutionary War.
I remember marching in the Denver Veterans' Day Parade when I was in the pep club in high school. In 1973, John and I were in Washington, DC, on Veteran's Day and attended the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery when the head of the Veterans Administration laid the wreath at the Grave of the Unknown Soldier.
I am so grateful I live in this wonderful country, that I am free to do and say what I want, go where I want. I am grateful that so many people over the centuries have served to preserve that freedom and to help other people and countries be free from oppression. Thank you to all who have served and to those who have died to give me this way of life.