We communicate by a variety of signs and signals, sometimes our message is offered in the form of a gesture.
Last month I rode in a funeral procession on a highway in South Georgia. Oncoming drivers pulled their vehicles to the shoulder and stopped. Police escorts blocked the entrances of traffic from side streets. Then, when we entered a divided highway, even those drivers travelling in the opposite direction who were not affected by our movement, were moved by something more reverent. They also stopped their vehicles, and some drivers turned on their headlights.
It was not the first time I witnessed that conspicuous public gesture of respect, but each time seems original, and it only took a minute to acknowledge the passing of another lifetime.
Later that day as I drove along another highway, I stopped at a busy truck stop to refill my gas tank and my coffee mug. When I finished and approached to pay for the coffee, I laid the mug on the counter. The cashier looked at my mug, hesitated, then she looked at me. She looked again at the mug with the emblem, U.S. Air Force. She smiled again and softly said, “You already paid for the coffee.” And, with a gentle nod she added, “Thank you.”
I sat in my car and tried to process the beauty and power of that simple gesture. I retired from active duty in the United States Air Force 52 years ago, long before she was born, but her recognition was the purpose of my service: to give her a place to be born and live free in America.
I wiped my eyes and continued my journey.
Good memories are treasures that we horde for ourselves.
Sometimes they are the only currency that can buy peace of mind.
They give us safe passage to where we were once content.
Good memories are not exhausted by time.
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