By Michael L Rodery
Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia, attending a conference. While I was in the airport returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen. Moving through the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camouflage uniforms. As they began heading to their gate everyone (well, almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered it hit me.
I’m not alone. I’m not the only red-blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families. Of course, I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line every day for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women, a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said, ‘Hi.’ The little girl then asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her.
The young soldier, who didn’t look any older than 22 himself, said he would try and asked her what she wanted to give her Daddy. Then, suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and kissed him on the cheek. The mother of the little girl, who said her daughter’s name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter Courtney missed her father the young soldier began to tear up.
When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then, one of the other servicemen pulled out a military-looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.
After about 10-15 seconds of this the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said to her, “I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you.” He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying, “Your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon.”
The mom, at this point, was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event.
As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looking around there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier, in one last act of unselfishness, turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.
We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it’s good to be an American.
RED FRIDAYS —– Very soon you will see a great many people wearing RED every Friday…the reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the ‘silent majority’. We are no longer silent and we are voicing our love for God, country and home in record-breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no media coverage on liberal TV to reflect our message or our opinions. Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of Americans support our troops.
Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home. We are sending a deafening message that every red-blooded American who supports our men and women from afar will wear something red.
By word of mouth, press, and TV every Friday let’s make the United States a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends and family it will not be long before the USA is covered in RED. It will let our troops know the once ‘silent’ majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on. The first thing a soldier says when asked ‘What can we do to make things better for you?’ is…”We need your support and your prayers.” By example, let’s get the word out and lead with class and dignity and wear something red every Friday.
WE LIVE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE, ONLY BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE. THEIR BLOOD RUNS RED — SO, WEAR RED! MAY GOD HELP AMERICA TO BECOME ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men. — Frederick Douglass
Michael L Rodery is a friend and neighbor living in Magnolia Landing, Southwest Florida.