Monday, September 11, 2017

Part of Something Wonderful by Margo Hoornstra



Since one of my days to blog here each month is the 11th, when the 11th comes around in September, I make it a point to honor our country and its heroes. Because...on September 11, 2001 our country and its heroes...well...you know.

For the past few days, I'd been thinking how to change it up, if you will, to make my annual tribute a little different.

Then something wonderful happened. Problem solved. You could even say this column was pretty much written for me.

A few nights ago, like many others here in middle America, my husband and I went to our local high school football game. The grandsons were to perform at half time, so of course, we couldn't miss it. We soon learned more would go on at half time. A Blackhawk helicopter was scheduled to arrive. As a bonus, piloted by one of our own, a high school alum. Double bonus...a She! Plus, all veterans would be honored for their service.This would definitely be an inspiring night. I just knew it.

Because...well...you know.

As we entered the gate to pay our admission, veterans were asked to identify themselves and their branch of service. A Vietnam era veteran, my husband complied, and we proceeded to our seats. The National Anthem played. Everyone in the stadium stood to face the American flag with hands over hearts.

Because...well...you know.

Several punts, kicks, rushes, passes, runs up the middle, and first downs later, the home team was ahead by one. Then came the two minute warning. Over the loud speaker, all veterans were asked to gather at one end of the field. In white jackets and black pants, shakos and plumes, with instruments shined, tuned and ready, the band marched onto the field. High stepping and playing in precise formation, the brass, wind and rhythm sections belted out the evening's selection of songs.

The crowd came to their feet as the music faded. Our veterans walked on to the field amid cheers and applause and whistles. One by one these brave men and women were recognized for their service, their sacrifice, their dedication to our country, their protection of our way of life. Especially sweet was the extra applause those Vietnam veterans received.

Because...well...you know.

A medly of military songs, again courtesy of the band, followed. The crowd applauded again. As instructed, the veterans lined up for a picture, band members came to stand behind them. Our home team football players filled in behind the band on the right. The opposing team members walked across the field to fill in behind the band on the left. A united crowd continued to applaud and cheer. Patriotism was alive and well and thriving.

Because...well...you know.

The idea 'It doesn't get much better than this' ran through my mind. A group picture was taken. Those on the field began to disperse. Time to settle in for the second half. The football players lined up on one side, the field side. After all, they had a game to finish. The veterans lined up on the other side to return to their seats.

Then something very special happened...

Because...well...you know.

One by one by one by one, these young football players, men in progress you could say, took it upon themselves to shake hands with each and every one of those veterans as they passed by. While I write this, I have goose bumps on my arms, a lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes. Middle America at its finest. I, for one, am so proud to be a part of it.

Because...well...you know.

Always remember and never forget...



They do what they do, so we can do what we do.

Because...well...you know.

My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. I can also be found at my WEBSITE






32 comments:

Leah St. James said...

Wonderful post, Margo. What a lovely tribute for our veterans and remembrance for 9/11. I love your ending line: Always remember and never forget. There aren't enough words to express my thanks to your husband and the thousands who have served, or to the first responders who ran into the burning towers and into the burning Pentagon that day 16 years ago. They are all real-life heroes.

Leah St. James said...

I meant to type "millions" who have served. (Hey, it's early!) :-)

Sharon Bell Buchbinder said...

Wow. What a powerful event and thank you for sharing it with us.

Kat Henry Doran said...

Powerful.
Wonderful
You rock
Kat

Nancy Gideon said...

Thanks for sharing such a powerful and moving moment on this particular day because . . . you know. Dang it, I hate runny mascara at work!

Nancy

Jannine Gallant said...

Sounds like it was a very special night at the football game. Thanks for sharing.

Diane Burton said...

Wow. What a tribute to those who served. I got chills, too. Thanks for sharing that special event.

Maris said...

What a fantastic night for all. Kudos to the organizers, and kudos to the kids.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Leah. So many of us are extremely indebted to so few. We do need to keep our thoughts and prayers focused on that and them.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Yep! It sure is! LOL Good morning, Leah.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Sharon. It sure was pretty special.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Awwww! Not me, Kat. Them!! Thanks for stopping. I always know I can count on you. ;-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

It sure was powerful, Nancy. I just had to share. Sorry about the makeup issue - sort of, anyway. ;-)

Margo Hoornstra said...

Definitely special, Jannine. I really couldn't NOT share.

Margo Hoornstra said...

It was a pretty great tribute for those who do and have done so much for us, Diane.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Exactly, Maris. Fantastic!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for sharing this moving experience, Margo. And though it sounds like some of the moments were unplanned, my former high school principal experience tells me that this half-time event was choreographed by some band leader or head coach or athletic/activities director, modeling to the community, and especially youth, the way to honor history...and by doing so, making another precious moment worth remembering.

Alina K. Field said...

Wonderful post! My husband is a Vietnam vet also. One of the things I miss about the Midwest is that appreciation for the sacrifices made by veterans.

Alicia Dean said...

Wow, I'm speechless, and I also have a lump in my throat. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. Thank you to all those who have served and remembering those who died in war, and in 9/11. Never forget.

Brenda Whiteside said...

Nice post, Margo. I can only imagine how moving it was to be there.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Good points, Rolynn. Also good kids.

Margo Hoornstra said...

We need to appreciate all their service, Alina. Midwest or elsewhere.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Glad I could you get that lump, Ally. It sure was pretty special.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Pretty neat to be there, Brenda. It was pretty neat.

Alison Henderson said...

What a remarkable experience, Margo. It brought a tear to my eye, and I wasn't even there--obviously a tribute to your talent as a writer.

Sharon Ervin said...

This was wonderful, just wonderful. From the wife of a Vietnam vet. We were proud who only stood and waited.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Aren't you sweet, Alison. Not my talent as a writer. More those kids' talents as citizens. Brought a tear to my eye too. :-) In a good way!

Margo Hoornstra said...

So true, Sharon. Those who stood and waited.

Andrea Downing said...

How moving, Margo. thanks so much for sharing. It's wonderful to think the younger generation is being taught what it means to serve.

Margo Hoornstra said...

My thoughts exactly, Andi. Very encouraging isn't it?

Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

What a great way to honor our veterans and country!
Beautiful post - thanks for sharing
Good luck and God's blessings
PamT

Margo Hoornstra said...

Thanks, Pam. It was pretty wonderful. God's blessings to you, too.