As i'm typing this, there is a parade going by on the street next to mine. It's not the best one my town holds but it's a favourite of the children (truth be told, most of the adults too) because all the participants throw tons and tons of candy. It's one where most of the labor unions walk down and a few bands and of course all the fire, police and rescue vehicles (sirens blaring) from all the neighboring towns.
It's loud, it's fun, it's Labor Day.
Two things that come to mind with this parade - when the National Guard and the Marines march past, not only does one's heart swell in pride for those who serve our country, but also i stop and pray for those in the Persian Gulf as well as those stationed in all parts of the world. Whether or not one agrees with why they are where they are - they still deserve to be prayed over and for. That God would keep them safe. That He would hold them in the palm of His hand. That they would stick to the code of honor and be ethically prudent when dealing with local people. That God would heal their wounds as many of them have had to use their weapons - fatally.
The other is all the sirens. Ever since September 2001, i have viewed those Men and women in a totally different light. Most volunteer to serve. Some are paid. my personal view is that they should all be paid somehow because they risk, willingly, life and limb to help others. If you ever find yourself in the misfortune to be in a car accident or have a house fire, nothing looks quite as good or safe as those in the fire trucks and rescue vehicles. As if one can say in the midst of tragedy: all will be ok, the firemen are here...or the ambulance arrive...or the police just pulled up. i've said it before that what breaks my heart the most about 9/11/01 isn't so much the terror -although don't get me wrong - that STILL hurts - but what gets me is how the fire personnel responded. They had no idea that they wouldn't come down from the towers bringing survivors with them. How could they know that those strong imposing buildings would collapse? Yet, i wonder how many would go up KNOWING that they wouldn't make it out? If they knew they would save others, probably most, if not all, would have done exactly what they did.
This country is far from perfect, we all know that, but there are reasons to be very proud of what she has mothered.
Have a great Labor Day and go enjoy a parade!!