Thursday, November 12, 2009

The soldier stumbled.

My kids’ school had a small ceremony for Veteran’s Day and they invited any local Vets to come and be recognized and honored.

I was able to go this year since I didn’t have to work that day so got to see my kids do a song (Good job girls!) and what the other classes did for the ceremony.

I’m surprised by the number of vets in our dinky little town of only 334. There were maybe a dozen or so present along with a few spouses.

A four-man color guard handled the flag duties.

As they wrapped up their presentation of colors, the youngest in the bunch barked the about face order and they tried to do what can best be described as a Michael-Jackson-move where they cross their feet and twist their legs, and in a flash like an Auntie Anne’s pretzel maker, they are facing the other way. (I’d have been mustered out of the Army quickly because I could never do that!)

Except for one little old man. I didn’t notice his footwork but when he started to walk the other direction he began to stumble. He lurched to his right and kept moving that way as he got his legs underneath him. It was one of those slow-motion things where you want to help but in my case I was way up in the bleachers on the back row and way too much distance between him and me.

The whole thing took maybe 5 seconds and a half-dozen steps and somehow he kept his balance and re-joined the other three.

I’ve been looking for some wise interpretation of this but so far have come up empty.

In a strange way it was sweet. Watching him fall would most assuredly not have been sweet. But since he kept his balance, it was a touching moment; at least for me.

Maybe because my own father and WWII vet is 87 years old and has his own issues with walking. Maybe with an Honor Flight leaving Springfield next Tuesday with 75 local WWII vets aboard for their once-in-a-lifetime trip to see their memorial in Wash. DC – Don’t know. Guess I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and somehow his stumble fit right in.

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