The sun streamed brightly in from the eastern windows, flooding the room with all the warmth of autumn. Students in black dresses or black and white tuxedos wheeled residents of the Veteran’s home to prime real estate around the grand piano in preparation for the concert HLA choir members were about to give.
“Thank you for your service,” I heard over and over. “What branch were you a part of?” There were handshakes, tender youthful arms draped around frail shoulders, and many smiles.
When the choir took their places, they leaned in to hear a word from their director Mr. Bedwell. He reminded them that the vets they were about to address in song were the people who made our country great and secured the freedoms we enjoy today. And then, the musicians were off, singing their hearts out to a mixture of patriotic and sacred numbers. Some of the residents sang along heartily. Others smiled in appreciation and remembrance, and clapped wrinkled hands.
What impressed me most about our young people today was not the dignified way they stood, or the lovely pitch and dynamics of their blended voices. It was the tender way they interacted with the heros of our country. After the musical performance, the group dispersed to mingle over coffee and donuts with their audience. I saw strapping young men kneeling beside wheelchairs in order to hear and be heard. I saw a cluster of laughing girls being entertained by an older gentleman who sang a polka for them. One sweet Korean/American woman engaged three of our Korean students in their common language and invited them to tour her room. It was an awe-inspiring blend of generations, each greatly appreciating the other. As we drove away, one student asked, “When can we come back again?” Honor is a lovely thing.