Sunday, June 22, 2014


The first thing I noticed was that he still had his hat on during the National Anthem.

I caught it out of the corner of my eye...he was sitting across the aisle from us and a few seats down at the minor league baseball game last night.  Registering immediately afterward was the textbook military salute the owner of the hat was performing, his bearing ramrod straight, right hand raised at the perfect angle.

He turned his head shortly thereafter, far enough around for me to read the white block letters on the dark ballcap-style cover: KOREA VETERAN.  Basic math would put him in the vicinity of 80 years old, and as an African-American man he almost surely had mixed experiences with the military of the early 1950s, but he was clearly a staunchly proud veteran.  (As a side note, I was confused by the fact that he kept his hat on, so I looked up the protocols today.  According to the current version of the flag code, members of the Armed Forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute--those in uniform never remove their hats.)

I meant to thank him for his service at the end of the game, but unfortunately, I must have been paying attention to something else when he left (possibly one of the many foul balls careening past our seats.)  Not many like him still around, I suspect.

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