Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Think (09/02/10)
TITLE: Outside In
By Catrina Bradley
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When I'm in my seat at the ball field, I spring to my feet, place my cap over my heart, and add my voice to those of the proud fans surrounding me, at times becoming teary-eyed in gratitude for my freedom.
But outside in the stadium breezeway, among the hotdog vendors, t-shirt hawkers, and souvenir stands, pride in country all but disappears.
You see, whenever I hear those first beloved notes, my ingrained military training rises again, and, no matter where I am or what I'm doing, the command comes unbidden ... "THINK".
Out amongst the crowded masses, however, I can't concentrate on the brave soldiers who carried our banner into battle through the years; I'm too disgusted at the army of my countrymen scurrying to and fro in front of me, ignoring the musical symbol of our nation's freedom.
I can't conjure up an image of six valiant men raising a tattered flag over Iwo Jima, because the spectacle of a mom and dad herding four screaming young boys waving over-sized foam fingers makes me wonder what happened to teaching children respect for their country.
When I try to picture my brothers and sisters in service who made the ultimate sacrifice, all I see are the hundreds of citizens too busy getting where they're going to stop for just a moment in respect of the men and women who secured the freedoms they seem oblivious to.
I should be thinking about the mere children leaving their families and growing up too fast in a foreign land, unselfishly defending the rights of their fellow humans to simply live like humans, but my attention is focused instead on the children in front of me who feel entitled to clamor for more, different, better, and the parents who cater to them.
Oh, yes. Better I stand safely in my assigned place in the stadium thinking my righteous thoughts, oblivious to what remains unseen outside.
Or is it?
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