Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Different Kind of Service

Heading into Veterans' Day, it shocked me to realize that it has been almost two years since I left the Air Force. It is one of those strange quirks of time--in some ways those two years have gone by in a flash, and in others, two years ago is a lifetime away. I can certainly say it is a lifestyle away!

Even though we don't have much income these days, the freedom to pick and choose what I do day to day is an amazing gift. And I HAVE been busy! Non-stop busy! It makes me wince and feel a bit guilty to think how I once (years ago) looked at stay-at-home moms whose kids were all in school. "What do they do all day?" I wondered. And while there were a few who I'm pretty sure were a bit uninspired and maybe even lazy, I see now what those moms were doing. Frankly, I work just as hard as I ever did. And my house isn't even that clean!

One of my big passions is our local school system. Obviously I have a vested interest in it, with two 1st graders! I spend a fair amount of time volunteering and puttering there. It has taken me a while to recognize that this, too, is "serving", just in a different way, and one that I find very satisfying. One of my day-to-day activities is raising the flags. Actually, this was my sister Gail's duty, and she passed it along. It is something I love and feel honored to do. Ironically, I spent almost 25 years in uniform, and never raised a flag until I was an unemployed volunteer mom.

I was raising the flag on Tuesday, and wondering if anything was scheduled for the following day to honor Veterans' Day. I seemed to recall the VFW coming last year and giving a little speech. When I asked at the office, I found there was nothing planned, and clearly it was too late to pull something together with the VFW. I offered to step in and do a little something, if there was a desire. Val, the amazing woman who holds the title of secretary but is actually Wonder Woman, asked if I would be wearing my uniform. I hadn't really planned on going that far, but then thought "Why not?"

And so it was that yesterday, I vacuumed the dust off my service dress, spent an hour looking for a tie tab, and headed to the elementary school for a flag-raising ceremony. As a last minute measure, I broke out my karaoke machine to use as both a microphone and boom box to play the national anthem. Worked like a charm!


Mark was in on it, too, playing the role of my lovely assistant.


The school is small, K-3 with about 160 children.




My sister Gail and I. When I introduced myself, most of the children recognized me as Mae and Abigail's mom, but you should have heard the uproar when I asked if they knew I was Mrs Stark's sister!


A sister is always there to make sure you don't take yourself too seriously!


Everyone needs someone like that in their life!

By the way, all you vets out there, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

3 comments:

  1. Connie,

    What a wonderful thing to do! You look great in your uniform, and thank YOU for your service!

    Jackie

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  2. WHAT A WONDERFUL IDEA AND IT SHOULD BECOME A TRADITION!!!!

    ON A SIDE NOTE...I WISH I WORKED AT A SCHOOL THAT ONLY HAD 160 KIDS...THAT'S THE SIZE OF THE 5TH GRADERS ALONE...WE ARE CLOSE TO 1000!

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  3. Thank you for your service--past, present, and future. Shaping the minds of our little ones is a very important job. What a wonderful treat for the school.

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