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Patriotism: A Whisper from the Past

I wrote this article for a midwestern newspaper in 2015. It remains relevant today.

It happened in the Midwest, one of those magical moments from the past.

I attended a demonstration of farm equipment and old-fashioned skills such as weaving and spinning. This outdoor event appealed to grassroots, country people. Most wore comfortable Saturday clothes; many farmers came in bib overalls.

A parade of old tractors wound across the grounds, causing faraway looks and happy smiles on the faces of older folks. They were remembering trickles of sweat dripping down their backs as they occupied seats of identical tractors long ago.

The magical moment appeared at the beginning of the parade. The crowd hushed as the announcer called attention to the American flag. Everyone stood at attention while a man sang The Star Spangled Banner.

The whole group pledged allegiance to the flag-something I haven’t seen done in a very long time.

During those hushed moments a solemn stillness came over everyone. It touched my heart to see a Boy Scout saluting the flag during the singing of the national anthem. Likewise, a veteran, now grown old, gave a military salute the entire time the song was sung. People stood with hands over hearts, the way we were taught in grade school. They were unashamed to be seen showing respect to our flag.

That sacred moment I experienced was a whisper from the past, a reminder of days when I was a child growing up in a country where we felt safe, honored God and knew the uniqueness of our nation. It was a place where common sense was common. We called a spade a spade, not a “culturally diverse instrument for whatever you wish as long as you don’t offend anybody with it.”

Ah, blessed sanity. For those brief moments I glimpsed the fact that despite those who scream for their rights, our country is composed of many sensible people who quietly live their lives while shaking their heads at the endless parade of the weird among us.

Long live country people; they keep our feet on the ground. May their tribe increase.

If you are a veteran, our deep gratitude to you for your service to our country. If you are part of our culture which has retained common sense, a hearty thanks also. Feel free to comment below.

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