The season had changed though it wasn't quite summer but it was warm. It was 2001, commencement season. We saluted the graduates during Sunday service. After church, people were hanging around and reminiscing.
"Girl, I can remember when your Mama was carrying you in her stomach. Now look at you, grown and graduating from college," many spoke those words or something similar, followed with a hug that had come across generations and carried friendships, and communicated pride and hope for what lay ahead.
I embraced the young man graduating from high school, with the wide, white-toothed smile that lowered your defenses and made you want to listen to what he had to say. He was one of the 'good kids' which had sadly become the buzz phrase, more so than describing the virtues of the actual youth, for a Black boy on the threshold of manhood, who we could feel confident would make the transition to responsible adult, without ending up in prison or dead.
"So what are you gonna' do now?"
"I'm going to enlist in the army and do some traveling, earn a little money, for now," he answered proudly.
"Well it's good that you have a plan and the military isn't a bad thing anymore. You'll make a great officer since you're already a gentleman." We laughed.
'It's not like back in the day when we had to worry about you going off to war."
He nodded. Two years later, ARTIMUS BRASSFIELD was killed in Iraq.
We're supposed to take a break today at 3 p.m. from grilling and enjoying a 'free' day to remember what this day is really about. I'll be thinking of Artimus and all the people, old and new, who serve in the military. They're all appreciated. Who will you be remembering?