Friday, July 16, 2010

Home of the brave...

My first job on campus at BYU was working in the Media Center in the Fletcher building. It was by divine design that I got that job. One day I went to visit my brother, Adam, who worked downstairs in the main section of the Fletcher Building and he said, "Hey, come upstairs with me." I followed him and he took me into the office of a skinny guy with black hair. He was a very nice, but intimidating man. Adam happened to mention that I needed a job and the man responded that he had an opening. Just like that I had a job.

It was a good job, one that I both loved and hated. See, I'm not really a technological person and that was basically what my job consisted of. I had to copy tapes into different formats, record devotionals, play general conference over BYU TV, and many other things all requiring some knowledge of technology.

Well, my knowledge was very limited. My family didn't even own a TV until I was 15.

I had only worked a day or two before I was left to my own devices for my first Saturday alone. When I say alone I mean that there was maybe two other people working in the entire building. I worked upstairs in this dark room with about twenty tv monitors on the walls, a computer, a film reel, and a big VCR to convert movie formats. The only window in the entire room was located behind the wall with all the tv screens (where all the archives stayed).

I was supposed to have security clearance when I swiped my card but someone forgot to give me the access so when I swiped my card and walked into the room the alarms all went off.

Here I am, just barely 18, a little newbie freshman setting off all the alarms. When the police showed up I fumbled my way through an explanation and then waited nervously while they phoned my boss to confirm my story.

After setting all the alarms off, I proceeded to break a very old film that was scheduled to be playing in the library. I hadn't been trained on what to do if a film breaks so I un-threaded it and threw it away.

That was the wrong choice to make.

Never, ever, throw a film away.

Ever.

There were things I loved about this job. Like having my brother work downstairs. That was fun. Another benefit of working there was that while I couldn't go to the devotionals, I had to record them all so I got to sit in my comfy chair and watch devotional every Tuesday.

Probably my favorite thing about my job was when my schedule worked out just right so that it was my job to press the big red button on the wall that broadcast the National Anthem across campus. I'd imagine, from my little windowless cave, that all the students walking past the Fletcher building were really little ants doing their business and then all the sudden I'd press the button and all the ants would stop and freeze as if in some trance. Then I'd press the button again and they'd all go back to their work.

My schedule didn't allow for this to happen often, but when it did, I enjoyed it.

Later, when I got a different job, I'd walk on my way home and hear the familiar crackle of the speakers engaging and then the National Anthem and I'd become one of those ants, only this time I wasn't just staring off in some trance, I was singing along in my head (and sometimes I'd think curses about the people not standing still while the anthem was playing).

It's been a long time since I've been on BYU campus, about six years, and I find myself only hearing the National Anthem once or twice a year.

Except this week I've heard it twice. I've found myself twice on base at 5:00 PM when the National Anthem is played. Both times I've felt a surge of patriotism and happiness to be an American citizen.

One of these times we were swimming at the base pool (free for us) when the clock struck 5:00 and retreat started. The pool, filled minutes before, was emptied in two second flat as everyone scrambled to stand and salute the flag.

Mike, being a serviceman, stood with his arms behind his back (at parade rest), and then held them to his side with his fists balled (at attention) during the anthem. I stood with my hand over my heart. Isaac wanted to be just like his dad and held his hands behind his back and whispered loudly to Will, "Put your hands behind your back." Eli, well, he was another matter altogether. He thought the music was supposed to be danced to and did a little jig.

I couldn't help but smile as I watched the boys (excluding Eli) showing their reverence to the National Anthem and I felt proud standing next to Mike knowing that he is serving our country. Sometimes our lives seem so normal that I forget that we are a military family. But occasionally, I have an experience where I remember what it is that we move around all the time for.

I hope that in the coming years our boys will feel that same surge of patriotism in their hearts when they hear the National Anthem and that they will feel proud of their grandfather, uncles, and dad for serving our country.

And, probably they will realize before I did that they aren't just little ants staring in a trance when the familiar melody is played, but citizens of a wonderful country, saluting the flag and celebrating their freedoms.



13 comments:

Lokodi said...

That's a great post Adrianne. I have to say that while I've been living in Germany for these past five and a half years, I have felt more patriotism for my own country then ever before. It's a constant reminder that I'm an american every day of my life just going on base. Every time we go to the movie theater the national anthem plays at the very beginning and everyone gets out of their chairs (even the very little kids know what to do) and stands at attention or a salute while it's being played. The fourth of July here is absolutely amazing on base. Everything is free and they just really take care to show us how much they appriciate our service in the military. I love the constant reminder of the fact that I'm an american! It truely is an honor. Thanks for sharing that post Adrianne. I second your feelings.

Jed and Kera said...

Oh Adrianne! I love this post! I am totally crying....hehe. Seriously. Thank you for sharing this!

Saimi said...

I feel the same way you do. My dad is retired Navy, and my brother serves in the Army.

I love to fly the my flag and hear the childen at school recite the Pledge of Allegiance but I especially love during the Olympics when the US teams win a gold and the is Flag wrapped around them while our National Anthem is played.

It gives me the goose bumps everytime!

Lilola said...

Loved this, thank you for posting!!

Mandi said...

This post reminded me of when I flew back to the U.S. after living in Ecuador for 6 months. When my feet hit that American soil, I wanted to kiss it. I was so grateful to be back in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Thanks for reminding us all of our ant days, and striving to be better citizens and patriots.

Cali said...

Oh, I loved reading this. I've had several similar moments living on base, and it has really helped me to remember just how lucky and blessed we are to live where we live. I love living on a military base, and being friends with so many whose husbands are currently deployed and maintaining our freedoms.

Thank you for sharing this post with us. You are so amazing, Adrianne.

Cali said...

PS--I love the picture of Isaac--love it.

Our little family said...

Beautiful post. I loved hearing the anthem played on campus as well. The beginning of your post made me nostalgic for when I worked at the Fletcher Building too! Remember how we used to talk in the room you worked in? One time I talked to you for too long and Elouise got so mad at me because I was supposed to be covering her desk and she missed her lunch because I never came down! And your description of Dennis was spot on. I got my job the same way you did. Someone was giving me a tour of the building, and mentioned to him that I needed a job. By the time I got back to my dorm room that afternoon, I had a message saying I was hired if I showed up the next morning! I loved that job. He was intimidating, but I liked working for him.

I too hope my kids will grow to understand the price that is paid daily for the life that we enjoy in this country.

Amelia said...

I enjoyed reading this. It gave me the idea that I should write about some of the jobs I've had. I also love to see my small children show reverence for the flag. It's very heart warming.

(I'm bloghopping from Cjane's "We're On Our Way Over" post.)

Michelle said...

Great post, thanks for sharing! Thanks for sharing all yor feelings and stories, love what you write and the pictures are the best.

Jason said...

I love our National Anthem and all ideals and emotions for which it stands. I am extremely grateful to Mike and Hans and Matt (Michelle's brother) for serving our cause so faithfully.

Mike and Adrianne said...

Lindsey and Mandi, I think living over seas would really create a feeling of appreciation for our country in me. I think it would be so cool to experience another country but I'm pretty sure I'd always be thankful to be home too.

Kera and Liolia, thanks!

Saimi, I remember reciting the Pledge of Alligence in school. I'm glad you have your kids do that in your class. I think sometimes people take our country for granted and I think starting young will help those kids realize how cool it is to live in the USA.

Cali, I've been meaning to email you. I hope you are doing well. I think it would be very interesting to live on base.

Kim, I'm so glad you worked there at the Fletcher Building with me! I never could figure out Dennis.

Amelia, thank for commenting on my blog!

Jason and Michelle, thanks for reading my blog and commenting! I haven't commented on your race post yet but you guys are so inspiring.

Papa Doc said...

I am slow reading this but hope you still get my comment. I was inpired like the others by your post. I especially loved the part about the kids. I wish I could see them. Thank you for having them and being such a good mom and having such a good man for their dad.

I love those pictures of the boys in the start of the blog. How did you ever get such pictures?

I am so happy to have two sons in law in the service of my country. Both of you, Mike and Hans, are wonderful men, doing great work.

I love this country and its constitution. I am saddened when congress seems to ignore its meaning and value. It is a glorious standard not a living, moving document to be molded into oblivioun.

Love you all,

Dad Clark