I have had the privilege of travelling quite a bit for a guy who's usually broke or close to it. On of my favorite places to visit is Seattle, Washington. My brother lives there with his precious wife and daughter (with whom I had the distinct privilege of playing "Pirates" on my last visit).
I have been to several big cities in my travels, the trips usually funded by the company I was working for at the time. Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, New York City (ever too brief visit...got lost in Queens), Madison WI (born there, done that), Chicago, and of course, Seattle.
In most of the big cities, I found much pretention among the city dwellers, many of them transplants with no love for their city. In Seattle, however, I found real people of all ages who work very hard and are mighty proud of their fine city. Even the beggers on the street had a certain charm I cannot seem to find in my own city back east. So much to look at. So many great places to eat. So much dang coffee. I actually saw two Starbucks across the street from each other. The very thrill of crossing the street to get your White Chocolate Mocha obliterated by the driving force of caffeinated capitalism.
While in Seattle my brother took me to a Mariners game. Thousands of people in that huge city had nothing better to do that day than go to a ball game! They wouldn't have been anywhere else. They are mighty proud of their sports teams.
And oh, the seafood. A bowl of chowder at Duke's changed me from seafood no to seafood yes. They are mighty proud of their food.
That's my take on the great city of Seattle.
Today I met a coworker's nephew who just returned home from service in Iraq. I introduced him to two of my kids. I said, "Boys this is John. He is a Marine who has been serving our country in Iraq." As I said these words, to my surprise, my voice cracked and my eyes teared slightly. I was mighty proud to be standing in the same room with one of our nation's heroes. The way my boys looked at him was priceless. Even they knew how special John and those who protect our country are.
Good times or bad, I am mighty proud to be an American, and the fighting men and women over there fighting for us are awesome. They are my heroes.