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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

My Son, the Patriot

By Ronni Prior of Rants By Ronni

One of the good things about being an older parent is the recognition of great moments as they happen. This story is one such.

My son was born when I was 40. With a little help from his high-school sister, he taught himself to read from an old World Book Encyclopedia before he was four. He attended a half-day "Pre-Kindergarten" at our local elementary school that year, and his teacher had a very interesting question for me: "Did you know he can read?"

Well, yes, yes I did. I knew that. He had already read me the entire entry on Uganda from the Encyclopedia.

But, this story is not about that. It's about what happened when we were coming out of the grocery store one day.

It was windy, and the sound of the lanyard slapping against the flagpole caught his attention. He had heard that sound at school. He stopped dead. I almost ran over him with all the grocery bags in my hands. His eyes followed the flagpole up to the top and he almost fell over, tilting his head back far enough to see the huge stars and stripes snapping in the stiff breeze.

He raised his little hand, and put it over his heart, and recited the Pledge of Allegiance as if he not only understood it, but meant every word. His voice rang out, and before he was halfway through, several men old enough to be WWII vets had gathered around and raised hand to heart, joining in. When he finished, he lowered his hand and moved on, leaving a small circle of men wiping suspicious moisture from their faces with gnarled hands.

When you are an older mother, you can stop and enjoy things like that.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Being an older and stay at home was a privilage I really relished

I relished it too. That must have been a very proud moment for you.

Sounds almost like a Norman Rockwell painting, doesn't it? What a sweet story!

What a precocious child you had. You must have been beaming with pride at this wonderful son. I'm sure he continues to make you proud.

Oh Ronni, what a beautiful moment...one of those precious ones that you take with you throughout your life. What a bright and sweet little guy. I would have been crying my eyes out.

My dad and my uncle, both, served in WWII. I gave ten years to the Navy; and my brother made it a career. I love my country and would defend it in a second; but wonder sometimes about where our government has evolved during more than two centuries of its existence. The flag, I respect; for it speaks to me not just of liberty, but of those who have paid the price along the way. I salute it with pride, and often with "suspicious moisture" in my eyes denoting an overflowing of my heart. It is a pet peeve of mine that businesses that fly such symbol, too often neglect its appearance, allowing it to weather and shred before properly replacing it. How humbling it is when little ones like your son point us to proper etiquette.....

Ronni,

What a sweet story,and how well you told it. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Wonderful. :)

What a lovely story, Ronni. The innocent patriotism of childhood--the innocent pride of a parent--the innocent happiness of random passers-by who see their own heartfelt values refreshed in a new generation--you've captured them all.

I remember my very serious interest in such questions as -- What should one do with a US flag that has accidentally been allowed to touch the ground? ("Burn it" was the answer that I remember.)

I also remember when the phrase "under God" got added to the Pledge of Allegiance, ca. 1952. Ignorant as I was of the role of Congress, etc., I assumed that as one got older, each higher grade would learn a more complicated version of that pledge. And the second-to-third-grade addition would be "under God."

Very poignant story for any age. Our children and young people often point us toward aspects of life when we least expect to be reminded.

Very poignant story for any age. Our children and young people often point us toward aspects of life when we least expect to be reminded.

Thank you all for your great comments.

It was a very special moment.

My dad fought in WW II and my mom was in England for part of the time, during the blitz, and in the US working in a factory for the rest of the war.

I have a soft spot for old soldiers. My son is now 17, and one of his friends is in Iraq. I'm seeing war and patriotism from a different perspective these days.

I love your story. Kids have wonderful insights and express them joyously. During WWII, I was walking down the street with my father and my 4 year-old brother between us. A sailor in his whites walked by. My brother literally sang out "I love a sailor and a sailor loves me." My Dad was a little embarrassed but the sailor beamed. There were no sailors in our acquaintanceship. I don't know where my brother's comment sprang from.

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