Most of my days start with a cup of coffee and the morning paper. Here I get a chance to catch up with all the news that I have probably already heard on national TV. This is not a bad thing since most networks and my newspaper put a little different spin on each event.
I mostly spend my time in the Local and State section of the paper. Here I get to read about some of the lesser known events that define what living in Maine is all about. We of course have our share of crime, drugs, and politicians (not necessarily in that order), but we also have the success stories, although you have to dig a little deeper to find them. They don’t sell papers I am told.
I have seen stories about the Patriot Guard Riders, a national motorcycle club of volunteers that ride to assure the dignity and respect of fallen heroes, be they military or first responders, their families, and their communities by shielding the mourning families and friends from interruptions created by protestors or groups of protestors.
In Freeport we have the Flag Ladies, three 60’s something ladies that have waved our flag on Main St every Tuesday for 12 years. Recently, when one of them had to undergo open heart surgery, in a show of support, 45 people showed up to take her place.
Then there are the troop greeters of Bangor. This is a group of volunteers that, day and night, are at the airport welcoming home or sending off every soldier that has passed through the facility. Since they began in 2003, they have greeted over 7130 flights and more than 1, 444,968 service members and 359 military dogs. They offer snacks, free cell phones, handshakes, and hugs.
Then there is the Worcester Wreath Co about whom I have written before. In 1992, as a result of a trip Morrill Worcester took to Arlington Cemetery when he was 12, he began donating excess wreaths to be laid on the graves in the old section of Arlington at Christmas. Public interest helped it grow until today when wreaths are placed on every grave in the cemetery as well as at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. In 2005, the Worcester Project gained national recognition and today wreaths are placed in over 150 National and State cemeteries.
After reading stories like these, I may take a quick look at the sports pages where I will find mention of the latest heroics like the winning kick by an American soccer player at the World Cup, or an athlete setting a new record, or some other memorable feat
Somehow, although commendable, these accomplishments seem to pale by comparison, If I ask myself why, the answer to me is simple. I just have more respect for people that are continually good then I do for those that are occasionally great.