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April 19, 2010

Gillette's Shining Example

   My mother in law sent me an email this morning with a copy of a letter to the editor that made it into the Casper Star Tribune.  You can read the original here but I've copied the entire thing below.  I remember as a child living at Ramstein in Germany when my dad was in the Air Force.  Every single day, when the base was lowering the flag, my dad (along with pretty much everyone else) actually stopped the car and got out to stand at attention.  It didn't matter if we could see it happen, it was just what we did.  I don't even know if it was something that was necessarily required because I don't remember doing that at FE Warren, but I loved it.  It was just something I learned out of respect, much like removing your hat during the National Anthem.  I'll post another story about that soon.  I just like the letter and the fact that people here still seem to care for and have respect for others.  It seems that often in the middle of all these disagreements, politics and anger, we forgot how to be respectful and show honor.  I'm proud that I live in Wyoming.

Gillette's shining example

I am a police officer in Connecticut with over 30 years on the job, a sergeant with a department in the Hartford area.

This past week my daughter and I have been driving cross-country from Connecticut to Seattle, Wash., where she will be living while attending college.

While driving through the states we have been seeing many areas of very large farms and ranches. A house and cluster of barns and surrounded by miles of fenced fields and land. We were wondering aloud about what the people and their daily lives were like.

It seems like it’d be a long drive just to go to the store or visit a neighbor. How do the kids go to school? How do you get to town? How far away is it to the store, hospital, to get gas? We talked about what it would be like to pull off the highway and drive up to one of these homes and ask.

On Wednesday, March 31, we pulled off the highway to gas up and get something to eat. We were in Gillette, Wyo. As we were leaving the restaurant we saw the street lined with people holding flags, their hands over their hearts or saluting.

One of the waitresses watching from the door explained that a young soldier killed in Afghanistan was coming from the airport en route to the funeral home. We saw the tail-end of the procession and followed it as we made our way back onto the highway.

All these people stopping what they were doing to honor this soldier and show their respect was so moving. People in this tiny town lined up further than we could see. I’ve never seen such a display of respect and gratitude where I live. I would venture to say some of the residents back home would be breaking into the cars while the owners lined the streets.

And as I said to my daughter, we’ve been wondering about the people around here -- this is what they are about. These are true Americans.

Your shining example will forever be remembered by my daughter and me. We have been sharing this with our friends and family as a highlight of our trip.

SGT. DAN "ZEKE" MATHENA, Harwinton, Conn.

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