A year ago today I was walking on the Indianapolis Speedway. Today was different. Home for a year now, I was walking the local Avenue of the Flags, with fifty American flags set along its sides, a dedicated yearly contribution of labor by the Boy Scouts of America.
As the ceremony proceeded I couldn’t help but reflect on some of last year’s events—not only standing on the Speedway, but later on in the trip walking along the Avenue of the Flags at Mount Rushmore, and attending the evening memorial there, honoring our brave fighting men. And the Boy Scouts contributing their time and energy to setting up and taking down the chairs and generally assisting along the parade route on the day prior to the Indy 500. And my trip through American history!
Today’s memorial was a typical small-town-America event. The program was led by a member of a local American Veterans’ group. A prayer was said by a local pastor. The local volunteer brass band, excellent by the way, and an on-going tradition for all such events, played rousing toe-tapping patriotic numbers. And, as they played, through the open door I could watch the group of young scouts excitedly assemble, preparatory to forming the Color Guard.
We were then invited, out through the open door, to join the Color Guard in the quiet morning walk along the semi-circular Avenue of the Flags, lined with the American flags and magnificent redwood trees, returning to the assembly hall through another door. Then the Presentation of the Colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, and The Star-Spangled Banner.
A few words by the mayor, a speaker, and then a rousing rendition of the various service anthems, with members and former members of our armed forces rising at appropriate times. Then the pastor with a benediction and a reading of The Gettysburg Address.
Nothing unusual or extraordinary. But very meaningful.