Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Salute

As I traversed the river bridge today, I passed a man. He was an older gentleman, with greying hair, shirtless, getting round about the middle. He was jogging, struggling through the sun and the heat and the humidity. Cars whizzed passed on the freeway mere steps away.

Over his shoulder rested a flagpole. On it were flying a full-sized U.S. flag over a black MIA-POW flag. Both flags whipped back and forth under the turbulence of the freeway and the steady river breeze.

The tableau had all the sanctity of a profound religious ritual. An onerous ritual performed at some cost; a ritual requiring commitment and will, one that could be easy to blow off as too hard. Yet it was a ritual with no exoteric meaning. He conveyed no clear message: this was no protest, no political statement. What intrinsic meaning he intended, only the man himself would know. Any other meaning is only that which the viewer chooses to ascribe to the sacred rite from without.

Still, I'm left with the unshakable belief that some sacred truth was on display. A sacred truth that required strength, will, and commitment from its prophet. Sir, I salute your truth, and honor your sacred rite - even if it remains unnoticed by everyone else on that bridge. Perhaps I honor it because no one but you and I will?

The most sacred rites of all are those done for no-one but oneself and one's spirit.

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