On a dark, crystal clear Colorado night, stars blazing overhead, I strolled along the Highline Canal with my dog –a 6-month old puppy named Buda. In the distance, unbeknownst to me, Buda spotted a small group of people and raced to challenge the “intruders.” What a magnificent act, I thought. His “Me first” charge without regarding his own safety. To freely place himself in harms way; to risk violence and even death to protect me.
With the current world affairs I find myself contemplating that act quite often. I think of the bravery of the men and women in our armed services. Me first! Before you can attack my family, friends, or my country…me first! I think of the Special Forces and Marines especially, for they are the first of their comrades to volunteer to be at the forefront of all the mayhem. Me first! I can’t find the words to express the gratitude I feel for every last one of them. Me first!
Me? I’m an overweight, balding 59-year old. In 1975 I graduated high school. I watched the failure of our politicians during the Vietnam conflict and the carnage associated with it. Even though the chance of me going off to war at that point in time was remote, I watched the draft lotteries with anticipation to see where I would have fallen IF I were a few years older and my number had come up. Looking back, those years seem like a whole other world.
I’ve always been somewhat patriotic but as I’ve matured I find that in the past I didn’t truly realize the grandeur of these patriots. Me First! Not that all patriots are saints; they’re not. Not that all patriots are honest, trustworthy, and brave; they’re not. And it’s not that all patriots are happy to be placed in those situations which require them to act accordingly; they’re not. But they are the ones who ran forward for reasons unexplained, and said me first!
I’ve committed myself from this day forward –whether in War of Peace- to bow deeply before these magnificent individuals, discard any manly pretensions, and cry out when I think of their sacrifices. The sacrifices made in the past, today, and the sacrifices yet to come for this great country. Me first! It will not be forgotten