Thursday, October 11, 2007

Half-Staff in Platte

On our way back from the Sand Hills, we decided to go home a different way, not unusual for us. We headed north out of Valentine, Nebraska; headed east at Mission, South Dakota and drove east towards Platte, just east of the Missouri River. If you like the prairie with the scenic Missouri River Valley included, this is a beautiful drive.

East of the Missouri River the land flattens out, the soil becomes better and ranching begins to turn towards farming.

As we headed into Platte, we noticed the flags were flying half staff. We wondered why.

We drove around this impressive town. One of the few small towns we passed through on our trip that seemed to be growing, not just hanging on with a sense of despair. We checked out Booms Drive-In, a restaurant in Platte owned by the VanderBoom family, friends of Judi’s brother Lowell. Like most Dutch towns, it was neat and clean.

Judi noticed a Dutch Bakery in the town’s grocery store. We took on supplies for the rest of the trip home. People were friendly and accommodating. I asked a lady why the flags were flying half-staff. She said a local soldier had been shot in Iraq, “not blown up” she said matter of factly, “he was shot”.

How many small towns have experienced this over the years through many different wars? Wars sometimes are necessary. I believe this one is necessary but the price is always high.

A small town flies its flags half staff in a soldier’s memory and I didn’t even bother to ask his name. I should know better. We view their sacrifice with so little appreciation or concern. Life must go on we say. Yes, it does and it will, but we are ungrateful as a nation.

To the unnamed South Dakota son of the prairie, another “coming home” soldier, I say thank you.

Exodus 15:3: "The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name."

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