(Air Force One approaches, over the air control tower from WW2)This past week, Grissom Air Reserve Base, (where my DH is in charge of the Public Affairs office) hosted the President of the United States. Yes, this is a late post because, as all military wives know, there are things that you talk about AFTER the fact. Preparation for a presidential visit is considerable; multiple agencies that have their own protocols that must be met, local security issues, coordinating all these facets into one smooth, safe, look-so-easy maneuver. I kid you not---it is NOT easy!
I must admit being privy to some of the behind the scenes prep gives me greater respect for the amount of practice work that is involved in each and every visit. And that is all I can say! ;-)
Despite the fact that I try and keep the blog pretty nonpolitical (due to DH's job) this is one of those once in a lifetime events, and I had to record it here. All photos are courtesy of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, taken by TSgt. Mark Orders-Woempner. If you wish to read about the visit from the Grissom web page, click HERE.
Air Force Two, taxiing after landing.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States!
The official welcome on the ground.
The joyful unofficial welcomes; smiles and hugs....
....Presidential autographs for those waiting patiently in the frigid wind....
.....the genuine *grip and grins* as we refer to them, happy people, soldiers meeting their
Commander In Chief....
.....And finally after visits in the local community, a fond farewell wave from the steps of the most famous aircraft in America.
And now, why I took the time to post this. When I was in grade school at St. Patrick's in Kokomo, Indiana, Bobby Kennedy made a campaign trip through town. We were allowed to go out onto the playground and children and nuns lined the fence, waving to him. He was riding in a convertible, nominal escort, waving, smiling, young....and then heading off, not knowing he would meet his sad fate. The impression of his smile is burned upon my mind.
At that time, although there were partisan shenanigans, at heart, we were all AMERICANS FIRST. Those who served in Washington had been through the draft and wars together, and at the end of the day, there was a willingness to get things hammered out for the benefit of the people. The common bond on both sides of the aisle was their service to this country while wearing a uniform, and most of them in combat.
My father, a Democrat, fought in WW2 along side Republicans, Socialists, some that probably had no particular allegiance to any party, but they were a band of brothers. They were AMERICANS. They fought for the freedom of others at the cost of their own blood being spilled, in hopes that countries under dictatorial rule would have the opportunity to live in freedom. The soldier never questioned the political leanings of the man next to them---it was strictly being an American or an Ally. That was all.
We now live in a country where partisanship is running rampant at the expense of those least able to pay and I ask myself repeatedly, if a Roman Catholic and a Southern Baptist can marry and live together and work things out for 25 years, WHY WON'T AMERICANS? When did hate become the flavor du jour? When did utter intolerance for the progresses gained by hard fought battles become the norm?
The making or breaking of this great nation is basically in each of our hands.
Can we bend a little? Are we the *Good Samaritans* we like to portray ourselves as? Are we willing to do the right thing for all even if it requires a bit of sacrifice on our part? Have we allowed 24 hour *news* (and I use that term loosely) to dull our ability to think, to debate, to search for the truth and intelligence in decisions? Did our fathers and fore-fathers fight for nothing?
I hope, as this Holiday season begins, that we may invite two Spirits into our homes; Tolerance and Compassion.
May they be welcomed heartily, and may they stay to temper our moments of pique. May they bring wisdom to us all, and bridge the rift that is pulling one countryman against the other. Let us never endure nor allow another uncivil war.
At the end of the day, we are nothing but finite creatures of flesh and blood. Fame fades, power is lost, money means little when compared to health, love and the knowledge that our decisions have been derived from fact and not fiction.
I would pray that we can lay our verbal and partisan weapons on the ground and walk away.......at least through the coming weeks.
Who knows? There might be a Christmas miracle of a different type, besides the one we honor annually.
May it be so.