I didn’t make it to any of the 4th of July road races today, so instead I went to the gym and arrived 15 minutes shy of its holiday opening hour. To kill time, I joined about eight others running on the adjacent outdoor track. My gym is located on a U.S. Marines base; therefore, everyone who works out is either active duty, retired or dependent military.
At 8 a.m. sharp a trumpet began to broadcast “Reveille” to announce a new day. As soon as the first notes blasted from a nearby speaker, everyone stopped in unison and stood at attention facing the same direction. I was struck by how seamless the movement and how quiet the moment on a day normally reserved for revelry. Here I was doing what I appreciate most in a community dedicated to allowing everyone to continue enjoying the declarations in the document we celebrate today.
When the music ended, we simultaneously turned toward our lane and continued as if we’d never stopped. Shortly thereafter a guy pulled alongside me. After several laps I finally looked over because I was ready to stop and didn’t want to cut him off accidentally.
“Hi, I hope you don’t mind that I’m pacing off you,” he said, smiling as sweat dripped off his nose.
“Well then, I better keep going,” I cheerfully responded.
Then I did, for me as much as for him.