Well folks, it is long past time for sleep, yet I find myself with the sudden need to write. The weekend has been another hustle filled rodeo week. Calling in favors to get entered in the slack and hoping to leave work even 5 minutes early to make it in time for the rodeo. However, with all in mind I can honestly say I wouldn’t trade my lifestyle for anything.
So, as I sit here pondering what crazy incident from this previous week’s rodeos I can share with you (because there are a few), I realize a much more important part to share. Often I take for granted the rodeo life. I just assume everyone understands the ideals, values and integrity of rodeo (and to be honest everyone includes myself). I grew up a rodeo kid. I spent my life in the back seat of a truck waiting out the rain during team roping slack. I spent it warming up horses during the bull riding and sitting in the saddle over looking cowboy hats from behind the chutes as the National Anthem is being sung while out nation’s flag is presented on horseback. It’s a feeling I have become accustomed to. I can remember as a kid the first time I was hit with that overwhelming feeling of patriotism. It brought goosebumps to my arms. The first time I felt that feeling I was at a rodeo. Over the years I have become accustom to this feeling, I have grown to take it for granted. However, this weekend was the first time in years that goosebumps popped up on my arms during the National Anthem.
You see, on this particular day I wasn’t warming horses up before the performance. I was entered in the slack and had plenty of time to get ready. So, I thought “I might as well go see what’s happening in the grand stands”. As I am standing next to the stands and the announcer is doing his bit introducing himself and thanking fans and contestants for joining the action, I notice an elderly couple with lawn chairs pulled close to the fence. As the announcer asks everyone to please stand for our National Anthem the flag starts its way into the arena and I notice the elderly couple having a bit of difficulty standing from their lawn chairs. Eventually the wife, having less trouble, helps her husband to his feet and they are both standing upright with hands over their hearts. All is well so far, the flag has made its way around the arena once and is on its way back our direction when I notice the man getting a little shaking. He rests his hand on the fence for balance, composes himself and then releases the bar to stand once again upright. He does this several more times and it is at this point that it hits me. The American Flag is flying, “O’er the ramparts we watched” is ringing in the speakers and this sweet old man is determined to stand for his nation’s anthem. I was overwhelmed. Chills ran up my spine and down my arms. I quickly pulled my phone from my pocket and snapped as quickly as I could. I know these are not the best pictures ever taken. They are a bit blurry and there are probably one hundred technical problems with them, but I was once told “The best camera is the one you have with you”.
In today’s society I can’t help but wish and pray that we had more people like this. No one would have judged or ridiculed them for sitting down if they needed to rest, ( I know I wouldn’t have) but these two were not the type of people to sit down during the National Anthem. I can’t help but think if we had more people like this in the world it would be a lot better place. A couple who probably understand the sacrifice it takes to live in such an amazing country far better than myself and the majority of Americans today. A man who may have very well served his nation proudly at one point in his life and a woman who may have lived and worked during some of the nation’s hardest times. They proudly stand to respect this great nation and those who serve to keep it great.
I hope one day I am as much of an inspiration to a younger generation as they were to me this weekend. I know I could have shared a funny story or a crazy adventure with you all, but I believe this is a much more important message. I hope it touched you guys and inspires you to be proud Americans. God bless these two and God Bless America!