Prairie Sunshine left a comment a couple of nights ago that I want to elevate today, so that everyone will have a chance to read it. It is a poignant reminder that in the small towns, and rural farms, and urban landscapes — wherever it is that we each live, there is a high probability that someone near you has been touched by the cost of conflict. And once in a while, something brings that very personal, very difficult cost home for the rest of us:
Had a really poignant drive into town. Turned on the Fargo radio for weather and road reports. Right at the freeze mark and rainy dismal white-knuckle driving all the way back. Then the radio mentioned a motorcade for the Frazee soldier’s remains which were arriving in Fargo and asked people to come out to honor him. Just west of Hawley we started seeing pickups and SUVs at the ends of driveways. Flags flying in front yards. By Dilworth, the fire dept trucks were all out along the road. As we drove into Moorhead, the police escort led the way for their group. My God, I had tears running down my cheeks. Flashing our lights seemed such a small gesture. All those fatheads on the Sunday shows and cable news with their strolls and photo-ops and posturing. And it’s all about this. One 28-year-old kid coming home for the last time.
In a prior post, I put together some listings of how you can help the families of our soldiers who are currently serving overseas, or who have been injured or killed. So often, the families of our service members have difficulty getting some help — even for little things like plumbing or electrical repairs or extra money for groceries, or even a little babysitting to get some time to themselves for just a little while to help cope with the stress and strain of deployment and fear for a loved one's safety. And there are things that can be done to help our soldiers in the field, too. See here and here for some ideas on this, and please feel free to share others in the comments below.
There are days when I despair, and days when I feel like there could never be enough weeping or anger in the whole world. But today, re-reading Prairie's comment, I'm thinking about how decent so many Americans are at their core — whatever their political leaning and whatever division thereon they have been led to believe ought to define them.
It should not — we should be defined by what we do, how we adhere to our values, and what we do in furtherance of them. In our hearts, we are all so similar. That we sometimes remember that and act accordingly is a great source of hope. And I wanted to share that with everyone today.
Reach out to someone else in your community and lend a hand — be it the family of a soldier serving in a faraway land who simply need a shoulder to lean on, or someone who is elderly and in need of someone to just stop by and say hello once in a while. Whatever it is, reach out and remember: whatever the political situation of the moment, this nation has lasted for years before now, and will last long after the present Administration has long exited the White House. But the connections that we make with the people around us are the true test of who we are.