Yesterday my 5 year old, oops excuse me, she just turned 6, summed up how America should be as we were playing in a pool.
She and I were playing as I was supposed to be drifting on a life raft awaiting to be rescued. She ran to the side of the pool and said, "I am here". "We are here". I blinked my eyes and said who are you. She said, " I am the Coast Guard". "Just hang on and we will rescue you". I smiled inside and continued to play the make belief game.
The next thing she said made me sit up.
She was wearing her Coast Guard approved Life jacket and asked me in the most believable voice, What happened, Pirates?" I nodded yes. She said, "Well we are here now and will give you water and food and medicine. We will protect you. That is what we are supposed to do. We are Americans. I said, "But, the pirates made me walk the plank and I found this raft. How do I know you won't throw me back out to the sea?" Her response was remarkable. "Because we are not supposed to do that."
She , in a very calming voice said, "We help all people from all places no matter if you are black or white or brown or talk funny, (she meant accent) or if you can't speak english. We help you. You will die in this sea and we are here to make you better."
I laid there in the float and thought about those words. I continued on with her to see how far this conversation would go or how deep it would pierce my heart. I asked her the following questions. "What does the Coast Guard do?" She replied, "They rescue people at sea. The army protects us on the land. I said, "What about the Marines? She stated, they do land, too. I said, and the Air Force? She said, silly Mama, that is why it is called Air Force. They are in the Air in the airplanes. " I said, and the Navy? She said, they fight on the ocean." I said, "I don't want to fight. She said, well we don't want to fight either but we have to when the boss says to. I said, why are we fighting people? She said, " I don't know" but I hope they know." We just mind them. Now....do you want some coca cola? I smiled. I said, Who is the boss? She said, "I don't know". I suddenly remembered the National guard. I said, have you heard of the national guard? She shook her head no. I said, "they fight too".
She said, weeeeeeell I think they are supposed to be like the coast guard and just be here for us..right? I said, "Right". I swear this child is like a sponge so she hears me talk a great deal about the Armed Forces and Military and veterans but she grasped it so thoroughly that I was amazed. She then went on to tell me about veterans.
She said, "We don't take very good care of our veterans but everyone should because they fought in wars and they got posioned like Dad. Some of them can't walk or have scrambled brains."
I got out of the float and leaned over and kissed her. I said, "I am so proud of you". I could not have ever realized how much she had the concept of what America should be and how far down the rabbit hole we have slipped. I wanted to believe every word. She had the true meaning of the concept of what America stood for She did not realize that it was the agent orange made by Dow Chemical that poisoned our soldiers. She did not realize that we do treat people differently but we shouldn't. She got the correct concept of what the nation is supposed to be but only saw the good part. She had never heard the words, Torture, nor did I want her to. This child is a flower that needs watering. She will grow to be great and I have no doubt about that.
She did not realize that veterans have to fight for their benefits. She did realize we have to help them. She beams with smiles and compassion and she is the most patriotic American I think I know, in the terms of helping. I can no longer say, explain this to me like I am a six year old because this six year old gets it.