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Showing our colors

June 25, 2014

One of the joys in my commute is listening to a segment called “The Pledge” on Steve Andrew’s morning drive show on WSUS radio. Each day of the week a group of either first or second graders from local schools repeats the Pledge of Allegiance as it is recorded in their classroom. Personally, this brings me back to my own school upbringing where this was a daily occurrence for my first years of school. What I particularly enjoy is listening to the kids and imaging the pride they are feeling in being recorded, not necessarily because it’s the “Pledge” but because they are on the radio; you can hear it in their voices as they try to outshine each other. I think that most of the words and meaning of the pledge are not lost on children since this is part of their early learning curriculum. I am not sure when words and meaning become patriotic pride.

On my morning commute to the train, the flag flies proudly on display along my route in the Upper Delaware Valley. This morning I counted 18 flags flying on neighbors’ homes, and this was before I entered Port Jervis, where they have been hanging since Memorial Day. Country living and the American flag go hand in hand as much as barbeques and apple pie. Since I fly my flag at home year-round I assume everyone does. Seems the closer I get to the city on my commute the fewer flags I see. I wonder if this has more to do with the population of the towns we pass, or if it’s just not as important as it seems to be near my home.

On one particular commute, it seemed to be a college graduation day train, full of graduates and their families. The families were as diverse in ethnicity as in age groups represented. One family had four generations onboard, with the children making sure great-grandpa was safe in the seat next to me before they sat down. As we pulled from the station I congratulated him on his great-granddaughter’s accomplishment. He told me how proud he was of her and how he traveled for days from India just for this event. He explained that education was very important and more than anything that she graduated from an American university. He proudly mentioned that her father and mother were both U.S. citizens and how proud he felt back at home in India of this fact. “In America you can be anything you want to be,” he said and continued, “I don’t think Americans realize how lucky they are.” And there it was, this sweet old man telling me, a stranger to him, how lucky I was and that I didn’t even realize it.