Sunday morning, late, at the Big Starry Coffee Chain. I’m third in line. There’s an older lady at the counter placing her order. In between us is a female college student, maybe 21 or 22. She’s wearing OD green sweat pants with a Marine Corps emblem on the front.
Not wanting to presume and be wrong, I asked, “Are those your sweats?”
She turned and smiled, shaking her head, “No, they are my boyfriend’s. He’s in town visiting.”
We talk a bit, waiting our turn. Her boyfriend had been to Iraq twice, was on alert for something in Africa. I told her my son was in Afghanistan, that I had once worn the uniform.
The lady at the front of the line finished paying and turned to leave. She stopped, looked at the student and said, “When you see him, you tell your boyfriend we are so grateful for his service, that it means so much that he volunteered and he’s doing what he can to keep us all safe. Tell him for me.”
Then she walked away. I don’t know who she was, or whether she had family that had served, all I know is she seized the moment. It was perfect. The whole thing was a (random) act of patriotism.
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.