Friday Firesmith – Texas

It seems that these days you can’t have a conversation about anything, or anyone, or any place, without someone dragging politics into it. So today, this one day, this one Friday, let’s forget that we are left or right, or blue, or red and let’s take a few moments to think about being human. It’s not a lot of effort I’m asking for, and I am not asking you for this time for myself.

Joseph Walker was just another forgotten vet who has served during the Viet Nam war. I think the combat veterans from that war got screwed, and they got screwed bad. They went into a war for a country unprepared and unwilling to do what it would take to win, and they fought against a county totally prepared and completely willing to do what it took to win. That’s politics, and I said we would leave that behind, but because of the politics that swirled around that rotten, stinking, lousy war, the men who fought there, and the men who served in uniform during that time, were scorned by many, and finally, forgotten by most.

The Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery announced funeral plans for Joseph Walker last week. The announcement added they expected only the cemetery staff to attend. But this was Killeen Texas, and in Texas, they do things differently.

Social Media got ahold of the story, and maybe in some places, it wouldn’t have made the impact it did, but the people of Killeen and other communities in Texas decided that Mr. Walker’s service to America meant more than cemetery staff could show. As the funeral was being set up, cars, pick-up trucks, and more than a few Harleys began to arrive. They arrived early, and they arrived on time, and at some point, everything stopped because there was a line of cars that backed up to the road in front of the cemetery, and beyond.

I’ve heard estimates as high as two thousand people who came to make sure Joseph Walker was shown the respect he had earned. But here’s what really impressed me; those people who parked a mile away to walk to the funeral already knew there were enough mourners there to make a difference, but they kept coming. They didn’t care there was already over one thousand people in attendance. Texans took this event to heart, and they took it personally, and they took it upon themselves to go, not because they thought someone should. They went because they thought THEY should. And they did.

Because that is what Texans do.

I love Texas. I love the aura, the mystique, the sense of self, and the overwhelming bigness of the state, and of the people who live there. No, they are not perfect and we can trade stories about the good, the bad, and the ugly about the state, but today, let’s not do that. Today, this once, let’s look to Texas, and let’s nod our heads to the Texans, who stopped what they were doing Monday and went to the funeral of a Vet who otherwise would have been totally forgotten.

I have a lot of respect for what those Texans did.

If you are from Texas, thank you.

If you know a Texan, tell them I said Thanks.

Read the story about the funeral of a veteran in Texas.

Take Care,

Mike