Yesterday, the choir I’m in was invited to sing at a ribbon cutting for a new veteran’s home in Tyler. Senators, state representatives, judges, veterans, U.S. representatives, and commissioners were all there. (I rode the shuttle over to the site with David Simpson!) A representative of John Cornyn wrote a letter he wrote for this ceremony, Louie Gohmert was present, Jerry Patterson–the land commissioner who made all this happen–was there, the president of the UT Health Science Center attended, and the list goes on! It was so cool! There were several hundred people there most decorated in uniform and medals. This one veteran–we called him Indiana Jones because of his hat– sat near the choir and was red-faced and teary eyed throughout the ceremony. It was so sweet. I realized just how much I love America. It was patriotic without being cliche. I think a lot of times when I think “patriotic”, I think Star Spangled Banner, salutes, fabricated emotions and people getting upset for not being as patriotic as others.

However, this morning was totally new to me. I saw patriotism in a new way. The politicians were involved, sweet, down-to-earth and friendly. Something I’ve never seen up close and personal. Mr. Simpson was super nice on the shuttle. Humble and normal! The above named politicians each gave a short speech about the veterans, our country, and patriotism. I think we all teared up on more than one occasion.

I guess I just really wanted to share how much I truly see now how important veterans are. They shouldn’t be cast aside and thought of as those-crazy-old-men-who-wear-those-weird-hats-all-the-time. Or why-are-you-always-wearing-medals-it’s-2011. They fought for our country and to keep us safe. I think we owe a little something to them, don’t you?

So, without sounding desperately cliche, I’d like to say thanks to those men I saw today. The men who cry for their country, the men who are proud of that lump in their throat when they say the pledge of allegiance. Thank you to Corbet Taylor, my grandpa, for fighting and coming home safe so that I might have life! Thank you.