To the fulfillment of good manners -- and more ...
Sent: Monday, March 19th, 2007 1:16 PM
To: Jon Stanley
Subject: Thanks so much for a memorable experience ...
I will treasure the memory of how overwhelming was the sight of that huge carrier as we approached from the roadway to the pier! How tiny I felt, but how warmly and welcoming were the faces of all we came in contact with over those few hours.
I came so close to calling to cancel as the weekend approached and I, a peace activist, realized that I would be standing on the deck of the USS Hornet, the ultimate symbol of western armed forces dominance at the precise moment that presidential hopeful, Senator Barack Obama, would be appearing in Oakland within just a few miles, and that others with whom I share concerns would be gathering to demonstrate against the war in Iraq -- just over the bridge in San Francisco ... such irony. I was so conflicted ... .
I'm grateful now that I didn't retreat but was able to participate with integrity while surrounded by Blue Star Moms; a woman commander naval pilot of distinction; a tugboat captain; and several civilian flyers -- and still find common ground -- all women who care about our young and pray their safe return. Together we represented the very essence of what it means to be citizens of this great nation -- able to freely express individual versions of patriotism without rancor - and that we could do that on board this great vessel without restraint was a statement that the USS Hornet can be proud of, indeed.
Thanks, again, for an unforgettable day.
Betty Reid Soskin
Photo: A Blue Star Mom displaying and defending her Marine son who is currently serving in Iraq. This mother was not listed in the program so I don't have her name -- and I suspect that she rose spontaneously from her seat to try to counteract my statement. In looking back, there was obviously room for all opinions. Between us, we aptly provided the polarity that exists in the country.