Saturday, May 26, 2007


My friend Dave Collins recently ranted about disrespectful idiots at a baseball game. This morning my wife, my sons and I all got up early and went to Dayton National Cemetery with the Boy Scouts to assist in placing flags on all of the grave sites there. If you've never been to a National Cemetery, it is a humbling and awe-inspiring experience.

Immediately as we arrived in the area of the VA, I was struck by the multitudes of cars and people flooding onto the grounds. I had expected to see several dozen scouts. There were hundreds and hundreds of scouts there:

In contrast to the morons Dave witnessed at the baseball game, these young men and ladies made me extremely proud. Shortly after I took this picture there was a short prayer. Heads were bowed, and everyone was quiet, even though we could hardly hear what was being said. Next was the Pledge of Allegiance. Hats off, proper salutes, and respect all around. There were some not-quite-short-enough speeches, followed by a bugler playing taps. I wish I had a photo of the line of four generations of old soldiers and young Boy-scouts, all lined up at perfect attention, with perfect salutes and serious faces. Hundreds of kids and adults stood in the hot sun and you could have heard a pin drop while the bugler played taps. It was amazing.

I was told that there are approximately 35,000 headstones at Dayton National Cemetery. As the staff distributed the flags, I looked with some amount of trepidation at the scores of young boys and girls, and expected pandemonium to break loose at any minute. I should have known from the kids' demeanor during taps that I would be wrong. The kids and adults fanned out with their flags, and within 25 minutes there was a flag at all 35,000 headstones. As I followed along carrying an armload of flags for the boys, I teared up when I realized that my son Zachary was very quietly and reverently saying the name on every headstone as he gently pushed a flag into the ground.


As it turns out, Dave, there is hope.


Blogger David Collins said...

Thank you.

3:44 PM  
Blogger franx said...

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9:24 AM  

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