If we’ve talked in the past couple weeks I may have expressed annoyance about Senator Begich and his event scheduled for today.  May I now recant.  I did not understand what was really going on.

I’ll admit, I’m a little jaded.  While I have attended some great events for military families, the most recent events I’ve been to have been more about people making a name for themself.  A commander wanting to impress higher-ups, a politician wanting a photo-op.  While it’s all supposed to be about families, I have felt more like a prop than anything else.  So that is what I expected.  Lots of speeches and hand-shaking was what I envisioned. That’s why I haven’t attended much over in the last couple years.

First, Senator Begich didn’t set his up, his wife did. And yes, she made a speech, but as it was under five minutes I dont’ mind.  I’m so used to all speakers saying that they know time is important and they will keep their speech short.  That tends to lead for interminable speeches.  She showed us her heart for military and then allowed the event to progress, without telling us that she’d keep it short.  The colonel spoke as well, but his speech was short too.  There was a video presentation, but it was the guys from the Fox Sports desk giving our guys a shout out.  It was short and funny and very cool.  I don’t remember hearing that anyone was trying to respect my time, but I sure did feel it.

Then there was the bounce house.  And things were scheduled that each battalion came at different times so there weren’t lines for the bounce house.  And not just a bounce house, but an obstical course and salmon riding also.  Can we say I had happy kids?  At least until I said it was time to see what else was offered.

Then there was the free stuff.  Military events often have free stuff, but this was beyond the norm.  The firemen were there serving hot dogs and burgers.  Even though it was 0 outside they had snow cones.  Yep, we each had one, Xavier had two.  ASYMCA was there promoting their free quilts and pillows.  Basically, when a service member deploys he sends in pictures that will be made into a quilt for children under 7 or a pillow for older children.  Each child can receive one.  A program set up by Dolly Parton was there.  The program is free and sends children books monthly until age five.  Toys, movies, jewelry and knickknacks were donated by different companies and each person attending received a ticket to exchange for one item.  The forest service was there with cool posters.  There were crafts and cookies for kids to decorate.  It was pretty darn cool.

I’m glad I went.  Not for the free stuff, though that was cool.  We are enjoying watching the movie Chase got with his ticket right now.  But I am glad I was there to witness the love that was shown.  All these people and companies just wanted to show troops and families love.  I came close to crying a couple times as I was overwhelmed by the generosity and compassion present.  I have a bit more faith in humanity than I did this morning.  Not that my faith in general was lacking, but it was lacking for politicians and commanders.  They can do things for motives other than self promotion.

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