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There were between 10-20 of us at different points between 7:00 pm and 8:30 tonight. Different races, different genders, different backgrounds. I walked out right at 7, remarkably timely for me, really not sure if I'd be totally alone or not, but still bound and determined. I was really glad to meet our new neighbor, Vicki, coming out with her candle at the same time. David came, too. We saw three other people standing on the sidewalks, and more joined . . . I'd say the early gathering was probably around eleven or twelve people?

We'd all gotten an e-mail going around the internet telling us to go out at 7 pm, wherever you were - car, house, wherever - and light a candle. Well, fewer people than I realized must have gotten the e-mail. We got a lot of honks, a lot of cheers, a lot of "thumbs up," waves, and peace signs, and I'm sure there must've been gatherings all over Atlanta, but I'd say our maximum out at once was probably 15, all told with people rotating in and out, about 20.

It was worth it, though. Well, it was worth it until the born-again guy showed up and decided to vocally share his belief with all of us. Still worth it, especially for one, very special thing:

Right around 8 pm, an older man, probably a Vietnam vet, wearing a red shirt, spontaneously pulled over to us, stopped his car, gave each of us a section of flowers. I don't know who that bunch of flowers was originally intended for, because this was clearly unplanned. He said nothing, just sectioned them, handed each of us some, and then quietly, seriously, poignantly saluted us, then drove off. I'm tearing up as I write this. Unbelievable. Just unbelievable. Astounding. I was so moved by that. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life. We've put the flowers in water, and we took a picture.

I'm really glad I did it. I was worried that David was indulging me because he loves me, and I didn't want to embarrass him or make him feel silly, but no, he quietly said: "that made it worth it."

A very profound moment. I was saddened by the numbers of people who didn't wave (tended to be younger women, I noticed, and . . . . I really hate to say this, but it's the truth: most of them Buckhead bimbo types with those skunk-like striped highlights in their hair. Gee, I always knew they were pretty fucking shallow, but damn). However, I was happy that we did get 20, and so very many more in their cars, blinking their lights, honking, flags waving.

And that kind man. Sir, you made me cry. If my standing out there with a candle maybe was a tiny way of thanking you, thanking my grandfather, thanking my husband and so many who have served our country, then it was more than worth it.

There's some young woman on the wtcdisaster LJ community who doesn't think our country is worth one life to preserve. Look, she's entitled to her opinion - I didn't even waste my breath responding to her. I'm very much for protecting freedom of speech - I am patriotic, but not hopelessly jingoistic. There's room for all of us: conscientious objectors, everyone. However, to my mind, she's just so terribly wrong. America is worth my life. America is worth more than my life. It's a terribly flawed nation, yes, and there are tons of improvements to make, but compared to something like the Taliban's regime in Afghanistan, it looks pretty darned good.

We're goofy, we all have different views, but there was room for all of us on that sidewalk tonight.

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Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie
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