Every now and then, my son Billy and I eat at a local cafeteria. It's a hold-over from when we were both bachelors and in serious veggie deficit.
Standing in line in front of us recently were four military personnel in camouflage uniforms. Three men, one woman. Don't know if they were National Guard or Regular Army. Didn't matter.
Suddenly, I was overcome and could barely talk.
Now I'm a liberal. In fact, the longer I live, the more liberal I get.
But I think we were right to go after the bastards in Afghanistan and I regret the Administration pulled up short before the job was done.
I grieve that my president has sent thousands and thousands of our young men and women into Iraq based on a pack of lies. Yet my opposition to the war in Iraq does not diminish my respect for our troops. I am no less a patriot due to my beliefs.
That gets me back to the cafeteria. Without saying anything to my son, I slipped out of line, went up to the cashier and said I wanted to pick up the lunch tab for those four military personnel. Anonymously.
When I got back in line, my son had figured out what was going on. "Did you do what I think you did?" he asked. He is much more conservative than I and understood my gesture. I think he was proud of his old man.
When we got ready to pay out, Billy picked up all the checks, ours and theirs, and observed that he was not on a fixed income like me. It was my turn to be proud.
Buying lunch? That's nothing compared to the sacrifices our military makes when they stand guard day after day, night after night. But it helped me express my gratitude.