Am I the only American who sniffs back tears when the Star Spangled Banner is being sung? Maybe it’s the people waving flags, the marching bands, the crowd or simply the fact that it’s the Fourth of July. And then along comes another float with the loud speaker disseminating a beautiful rendition of God Bless America. I’m choked up all over again.
I love watching the dancing horses, kiddies, ponies, hot cars, a wounded warrior rolling along in her wheelchair—the works. But why was I the only one to stand up when a marching band played our National Anthem? No hats came off? Maybe my tears are for things lost, maybe for good things I hope will come.
My husband and I had a wonderful place to sit. Gina and Danny had set out chairs along the sidewalk in front of “Just G’s Boutique” in Morgan Hill.
The parade finished, we said goodbye to family and friends and began our mile hike back to the car.
Along the way I recognized a parade participant, the lady in the wheelchair. She was talking to another lady in a wheelchair and I happened to hear the word, “Afghanistan.” We kept walking for another block, but something made me turn around and go back. I planned to say to the woman, “Thank you for your service.”
As I stood by the ladies waiting for a break in their conversation, a marching band heading back to their bus suddenly began to play—full throttle. The woman immediately bent forward, head down, hands over ears. Instinctively I wrapped my body over her, hugging her tight as she shivered. As the music faded, she began telling herself out loud that it was OK, and that the parade was over. I stepped back, she saw my camera and gave a brave smile. I don’t know her name. I know that she is suffering, and I know how brave she is.
I am reminded that people like this let people like us enjoy the Fourth of July. God bless our soldiers!