One of the biggest treasures of my military service is my wife, whom I met while we were both serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. Being as she is a true Jersey Girl her idea of vacation means only one thing – a week at the beach. So, that is what we did. Last week we loaded the kids, swim trunks and some adult beverages into the cars and headed for Exit 0 – Cape May.
We picked Cape May because one of her best friends, a Cape May native, lives there and the town offers a family friendly atmosphere. But being as we are a Coast Guard Family we also planned on visiting Training Center Cape May, otherwise known as boot camp for all enlisted Coasties. Being as Aug 4th was the Coast Guard Birthday, AKA Coast Guard Day, we were lucky enough to attend a Sunset Parade on the base. This is where I witnessed the first of two displays of the National Anthem which truly took my breath away.
Naturally, any formal event on a military base would include playing of the National Anthem, during which everyone would stand, civilians would place their hand on their hearts and veterans would salute. But as the first notes were heard so was another heart lifting sound as everyone present, civilian and military alike, began to sing along. Every word, every note. No one was sitting, looking around waiting for the end or showing anything but the utmost respect.
I know what many of you are thinking “What is so surprising about that? You were on a military base.” But it was breath taking just the same.
The second display of patriotism occurred on Sunday while visiting the boardwalk in nearby Wildwood. At precisely 1100 hrs. the public announcement system at the Wildwood Police Department substation also began playing the familiar tune. Once again everyone stopped, turned towards the nearby flag and showed respect for our nation’s symbol. Officers from the police station came outside and saluted. Yes, there were some visitors who refused to interrupt their vacation even for a few moments. No one heckled them or said anything but each who passed was given more than one sharp stare that said: “How dare you!”
Twice in one weekend I was not only witnessed the simplest but purest show of patriotism possible. More importantly, I was able to share it with my son. For those of us who have spent time in uniform, or even grew up in a time when every school day started the same way, this seems like a small event. But given the negativity surrounding the playing of this simple song in recent months, it was a bigger deal than I could have imagined.
Thank you, New Jersey for showing my family that American is STILL great!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.