I totally live in a bubble. My world is made up of agriculture and I understand the people who work in it, live in it and I can speak their language. They are normal people to me.
I can cook their meals, do their shopping and I could walk in their house and tell you the origin of every stain on their counter or couch. I can tell you how the conversation over coffee went between the husband and wife on the rainy May Monday morning or over the cold Coke on a humid July Saturday night.
While I can’t tell you individual preferences like favorite color or what they order at the local coffee shop, I can say, with assurance, their world is not foreign to me. But recently, I had a quite foreign experience.
I had the privilege of attending a college commencement and my bubble was popped. Surrounded by unfamiliar people, we were all there for one thing: To celebrate a graduate. When they asked us to stand for the National Anthem, we all stood, except for a few ladies sitting near me.
I was waiting for them to stand, and I couldn’t believe they were still sitting by the “rocket’s red glare” and there were some “bombs bursting” in my mind as I wanted to nudge each one of them and tell them they were missing out on the opportunity to honor our flag, our country and the military who serve it.
I was in unfamiliar territory, so I kept my thoughts to myself and just sang extra loud.
As the commencement continued, I contemplated what I had witnessed and tried to figure out why they didn’t stand. Were they silent protesters? Were they sick? Where they injured?
I tried to imagine where they came from, what their home looked like and what they talked about over the kitchen table. Was their decision to stay seated something they planned, or is it just optional in their world? Where did this total disrespect originate?
Then I began to think about my bubble. And the people in my bubble who stand for the flag, sing during the anthem and cheer for our military in a parade. I just rubbed shoulders with people who didn’t feel the need to show respect or allegiance to our country. I saw firsthand that sort of disrespect isn’t excusive to the NFL.
And as I thought about my son, and the thousands of other children out there serving in our military and how they are serving for those who show respect and who disrespect our flag, I realized this is why they serve. So that while I stand, others may want to sit – and there is freedom for each of us, paid for by those who went before us.
So I say “thank you” to all who have served and are serving for ALL of us, who are standing and those who sit.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.