Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Of Patriots young and old

Recently I was asked to participate in the Fort Valley State blog as a contributor. Being the sort who dreams of that “pseudo-career” as a writer who doesn’t necessarily have to eat on a daily basis, I jumped at the chance. So…here I am, Oreta Samples, currently the Lead Veterinary Technician here at FVSU, soon-to-be a doctoral graduate from Nova Southeastern University and now a “blogger.” So here goes good folks, enjoy!

I was invited to sit at the Friends of George Hooks table last Friday at the Governors Awards Luncheon for the Humanities. Hooks was one of the award recipients. The event was held at the Old Railroad Depot in Atlanta on as fine a Southern afternoon as I have ever seen here in the great state of Georgia; the type of day country musicians sing about and the southern belles of the past wrote about in their diaries. After attending a lecture on the merits of barbecue by John Edge, we were all treated to a fine buffet lunch of, (what else) barbecue. There was a fine rendition of our national anthem, sung by Sharon Lane and the expected speeches extolling quite appropriately the accomplishments of the award recipients; but there was something else that brought a tear to every eye in the place.

As we walked in after the guest speaker of the morning to find our tables and check out the exhibits, there was a line of eight or ten youngsters quietly standing against the wall, pressed and starched with a policeman watching over them. Glancing through the program, I discovered that the group was the Chestnut Charter Elementary School of DeKalb County Honor Guard. So why, you might ask, is this, such a big deal that I am writing about it in my first blog appearance? These children are the only elementary school honor guard in DeKalb County; they are hand picked and trained by Sgt. Rick Morgan of the DeKalb County Police Department, and a fine job he has done.

In this day and age, I think regardless of your political affiliation or views it does all of our hearts good to see a group of young people so proudly carrying out the duties of honoring our flag and our country, leading by example as they led a room full of state representatives, senators, seasoned politicians and friends in those precious words “I pledge allegiance… .” In a land where the military is a volunteer force, I couldn’t help but think of the parallel between our soldiers and these littlest volunteer guards. And I have to say it brought more than one tear to this ol' girl's eyes, and I hope to yours. So as you go about your daily lives, take a few moments and really think about the freedom and the privilege which is ours as Americans and then go find a soldier to thank or a child to hug, because within these individuals lies the future of our nation. Until next time, stay safe and May God Bless the USA.

--Oreta Samples is the Lead Veterinary Technician in Fort Valley State University's Veterinary Science department.

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