Some would say that the fabric of American society is fraying due to decreased civic engagement and increased political polarization. Last week I witnessed the complete opposite of this.
It was the night before Flag Day, and I saw the strengthening of social bonds in a local pub restaurant where 13 veterans and their spouses came together to share fun, stories and some delicious Irish stew.
This positive and festive social gathering brought together U.S. veterans from three generations to share in the spirit of camaraderie and strengthening community involvement.
Members from the Charles Schwab Military Veterans Network and Ahwatukee American Legion Post 64 met at the Irish Hare Pub and Restaurant in Phoenix for some fun, food and storytelling.
Here our common values rallied about an important piece of cloth that symbolizes the unity and strength of our country- the flag we have all pledged allegiance to. The red, white and blue fabric on our table reminded us that we are Americans first. We came together and toasted to our freedom. which none of us will ever take for granted.
It warmed my heart and gave me hope that people from different generations, professions, political leanings and walks of life can come together in a spirit of positive bonds of affection and shared experiences.
The Irish Hare is a great venue for social events, dinner and music and we all appreciated the support from proprietor Heidi Hamor, who thanked us for our service and contributed to the raffle prizes with a snazzy, green shirt. Other fun raffle prizes from Post 64 included a U.S. flag and fun, patriotic cowboy hats.
It was a simple yet spirited event and renewed my faith in the strength of local community bonds that are the underlying support for the fabric of our society. I was happily reminded that I live in the United States of America, where our flag is appreciated and rallied around in times of peace and war and serves as a common symbol of our shared principles and values.
I am also happy to report that one of the younger veterans joined our American Legion Post 64 that night.