I was eligible for the draft but was not called.
To be honest, I don’t think I would have had the metal necessary to serve. Who knows? Maybe I would; it’s a moot point. That aside, I hold, without waiver, respect for those brave and strong enough who put their lives on hold and on the line to keep people like me safe and free. Please, as you venture forward in this piece, know that. As a matter of fact, please re-read this paragraph; it’s essential.
Therefore, one would be accurate to assert that any commemoration of our country absolutely, positively must pay tribute to the men and women in uniform. There would be no U.S.A. if not for their sacrifices time and time again. It’s trite to say it, but it is heartfelt, “Thank you for your service. We can never repay our debt to you.”
Equally true is that a celebration of this “great experiment” that portrays SOLELY that aspect of this wildly diverse nation misrepresents and minimizes the talents and skills of countless others who contribute and sacrifice for the greater good. If we are to be fair, they too must be mentioned.
To that end, my affirmation for a celebratory future parade includes a tribute to:
- Educators. Not one soul would be able to read this column if it wasn’t for the work done by teachers, instructors, trainers, professors, school staff, and everyone standing behind them in the public and private schools that cover our landscape.
- Health care providers. It is too true: “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” Yes, our health care system needs vast improvements, but that doesn’t take away from the deference owed the doctors, nurses, practitioners, home care providers, therapists, and administrative staff that take care of us when we’re ill and educate us to maintain wellness.
- Government employees. This enormous mechanism we call “America” doesn’t just happen. It is the result of behind-the-scene public servants ranging from first-year interns in mini burgs to county clerks and city managers and boards of supervisors, judges, administrators, volunteers, and elected and appointed officials who do everything from manage our parks to protecting our environment. Imagine our country without them; couldn’t happen.
- Law enforcement. They get a bad rap. Yes, sometimes bad actors hijack the good works of the 99 percent fair and honest. Yet, to paint every dedicated and devoted police officer, sheriff’s deputy, dispatcher, judge, prosecutor, public defender — as well as all the folks behind the scenes — with that taint is equivalent to blaming every law-abiding citizen for the actions of any thug on the street.
- Those who speak to a higher calling. As with law enforcement, some with mal-intent steal headlines. Nonetheless, the preachers, pastors, nuns, ministers, clerics, imams, rabbis, deacons, elders, spiritualists, and lay people who minister to the higher angels of every denomination must be held on high. With love as their compass they work selflessly to lift up those less fortunate attempting to make this earthly plane better for all.
- Artists. Overlooked way, way, way too often are those who bring to us the awe, and inspiration of canvas, film, stage, written word, multi-media, voice, music, and sculpture. Oft-time underpaid, they toil tirelessly to bring enlightenment and beauty to our world.
- The “others.” It’s been said that “we” without “me” is “them.” We are a melting pot; more resilient because of the wide-ranging diversity of cultures and histories. With the exception of Native Americans, every single one of us is an immigrant in this plentiful land. We are the “tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of those teeming shores.” We are not to be feared but celebrated; not locked in cages but elevated. We together — every age, race, heritage, faith, gender, sexual identity, and belief — are truly what is America; greater when standing arm in arm, unbroken, unbowed, irrepressible and accepting, looking peacefully to a brighter future in celebration with all life on Mother Earth.
That is the America I salute.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is the CRP (Chief Recovering Perfectionist) of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com. He is available for coaching, speaking, and reminders of what really matters at 707.834.4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.