I went for a walk with Sugar Bug a couple of hours ago. We went up the main street past the city cemetery. After I told her I love cemeteries, she wanted to know why.
“There’s so much history buried in there. People who have lived their lives, gone places, done things. You know, just ordinary people who went about their business.”
“What kind of people?” she asked.
“Well, some were parents raising their families, dads who went to work. Some were in the military and fought in wars.”
“I don’t think they would be ordinary. I think that makes them un-ordinary”
“Which ones are ‘un-ordinary’?” (I knew she meant extra-ordinary, but I didn’t want to correct her; grammar lessons could wait. I wanted to hear what she said.)
“The ones in the military. That makes them special, because they were there ready to give up their life so someone else could be free. That makes them un-ordinary.”
“I suppose that does, then, doesn’t it. There are a lot of people who don’t think the same way today.”
“Why don’t they?” (She has no idea how loaded that question is in a post-modern 21st Century USA.)
“Well, back when those people were alive, they –and the culture and society — used to think it was a privilege and a duty to serve their country. It was an honor for them to be in the military. They did it out of respect and honor for their country.”
“O, that definitely makes them un-ordinary.”
[ I thought of telling her that back then they didn’t think about whether it was the nations business to be there, if the military action could be politically and socially justified, or if it was ‘the right thing to do’. They left that to politicians and government to sort through; they joined because they wanted to serve, not earn a free college education. That’s what I wanted to add, but I didn’t. I’ll let her 10 year old innocence stay intact for as long as it can. I’ll let her patriotism stay strong, so she can still think people today serve their country in the military because of love of country– nothing more, nothing less. ]
Un-ordinary indeed! To her, they are heroes, and that’s the kind we need to look up to more often.