July 05, 2006

The Power of Showing Up

I've spent some time lately explaining to a newcomer in this realm the hows and whys of my thought processes and actions. It got me to thinking about my time in New York and how much my mom just didn't understand about me.

It was Fleet Week. What girl doesn't love fleet week? Men in uniform ... YUM!

In our planning, the Fleet Week events and visiting ships kept getting pushed out farther and farther. I kept emphasizing to my mom that attending events and/or visiting the ships was something I really wanted to do. She did the "ok ok, we'll get to it" that we've all heard before.

Finally she got so frustrated by my daily insistance that she burst out with, "you lived in San Diego for six years, haven't you seen enough? Is there something you need to see that you don't already know about?"

And there was her mistake ... She only heard the what and she didn't understand the why.

I stopped her on the corner and had her look across the street. I said, "Do you see those two people right there? They are the reason I want to go to Fleet Week. They are the reason I need to go to Fleet Week. And they are the reason I think we should go to Fleet Week."

Those two people were anti-war protestors passing out stickers and shouting to people about their negative messages as they passed by.

But she still didn't get it ... so I continued ...

"Mom, the people getting off the ships are going to see these people and who knows how many more people like them. Some of them are probably being 'welcomed' home by these messages ... by messages that are as least supportive as they could possibly be ... toward people who get shot at, blown up, and witness death as a job.

When they get home and its just them and their thoughts, is that what you want them to think about? That the only people who took the time to recognize them and their efforts were the people against them? Because I promise you, there aren't nearly as many people openly saying 'thank you' or 'job well done' or even 'glad to have you home' as there are these disgraceful ones.

The people getting off these ships aren't going to see that tattered flag you have tied to your second car's antenna or that magnet you keep intending to buy but just haven't gotten around to yet. But what they will see is you clapping your hands at one of their concerts or shows, or touring one of their ships, or learning about their equipment. They will see you taking an interest when you show up to Fleet Week. They will see that there are still Americans that believe in their purpose and their mission. They will see that the pride they have in themselves is also found in the people they represent ... because you took the time to show up.

They might not say anything about it to anyone else, but how do you feel when you put together an event and no one shows up?"

Posted by Princess Cat at July 5, 2006 01:30 PM @ 01:30 PM in Milblogging // Permalink | TrackBack

Amen, sistah.

Posted by: That 1 Guy at July 5, 2006 02:24 PM

Truer words are rarely spoken. If you want to see it on a more local setting just visit a USO location.

Posted by: Jesse at July 5, 2006 05:04 PM

... I hope your Mother finally understood your reasons...

Posted by: Eric at July 5, 2006 05:16 PM

dang it... T1G said EXACTLY what I was about to type.



Posted by: RSM at July 5, 2006 08:08 PM

You are so on target with that! We need to be more active in showing our appreciation than those who would just show contempt.

You go, milady!

Posted by: Dave at July 6, 2006 04:38 PM

This is an awesome post, Cat.

Posted by: zonker at July 7, 2006 10:41 PM