The other night my nephew Nicholas called. He needed to speak with an elected official about matters of citizenship, allowing him to complete the final Boy Scout badge requirement before being promoted to First Class.
We chatted for a little while and it was nice being reminded of how fortunate we are. He and I talked about the guarantees the country gives us upon birth, as codified in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. We talked about the evolution of the amendments and how careful the nation has been over years. Then we talked about what his obligations were as a citizen. I told him it more or less boiled down to doing good beyond your home. It covered everything from volunteering in school programs or town organizations, or donating to worthwhile causes and so on. I also emphasized the obligation to do things like obey the law and serving on a jury.
OK, so I sounded a little like Jefferson Smith for the phone call, but it was a good refresher.
Early in the day, I also performed an act of citizenship that was kind of neat. In Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall, Pitney Bowes was running a promotion. They were offering free Valentine’s Day cards, which they would mail for you. The goal was to encourage people to grab a free card for a loved one and while they were at it, also send a card to a member of the armed forces, serving somewhere else and not home for Valentine’s Day. We could make it out to a man or woman or keep it generic and they had a ton of pre-printed labels courtesy of Any Soldier, one of several organizations that donate goods to the men and women serving their country.
In addition to the cards, they gave out Any Soldier pens and had Doug Savant, from Desperate Housewives on hand to pose for photos. As I completed a generic card, thanking the recipient for their service and wishing them a safe tour of duty, Savant was completing a photo. He ambled over to me and we struck up a conversation, talking about the cards, his kids, school, my job, his job (“I’m having the time of my life,” he admitted about shooting the series).
I walked out of there feeling pretty good. A soldier will get the card and hopefully be happy to be remembered, I had a nice conversation and Pitney Bowes got some nice publicity without flogging a single specific product or service. Everyone benefited which was definitely how the way things should be.