It is the 29th of April as I write this, and Baltimore, the place where our national anthem was written, is reeling from riots. The reason is that a drug dealer died while in police custody, and so the thoughtful response has been to loot stores. The logic of that kind of behavior being called “protest” escapes me, but as this column is about and for soldiers, I’ll leave it behind for now and move toward talking about some of my favorite people on the planet, the National Guard.
When I was in Iraq, the NG, as they were called, were attached to various regular Army Units, and as the NG was brought in from all 50 states, you had everything from the Island Boys from the Hawaiian 399th, to the New York State Fighting 69th, largely hailing from New York City. I think you can imagine the culture, the camaraderie, and the humor. In addition, all of these guys (and a few gals) took desert training before they came to protect us, and were a very important part of the war. I will always owe them for all they do to keep me free.
So, you can be sure I was more than thrilled about the fact that two Baltimore area Whole Foods Stores, out of the goodness of their hearts, pooled their resources in order to make sandwiches for the Maryland National Guard as the NG has been on duty protecting the people of Baltimore. As is the case so often these days, the slightest activity ends up being posted on Facebook, and here is what was said:
Whole Foods Market Harbor East
“We teamed up with Whole Foods Market Mt. Washington to make sandwiches for the men and women keeping Baltimore safe. We are so thankful to have them here, and they’re pumped for turkey & cheese.”
Sounds like something positive right out of a Morale, Welfare, and Recreation training manual, and then the naysayers began their negative rant in regard to the noshing NGs:
“I spent my last money with Whole Foods last night. What you are doing is unconscionable.”
“As Baltimore’s poorest kids are left hungry due to school closure, (no school lunch,) Whole Foods feeds the oppressor.”
“The stunt Whole Foods in Baltimore pulled today opened my eyes. I used to love Whole Foods, but I can’t support the company anymore. #Bye”
Are you kidding me? “Unconscionable?” “Feeding the oppressor?” “Stunt?” Were these soldiers the guys who set things on fire and put 15 cops in the hospital?
Thankfully, there were those who voiced their support, and they are the kinds of folks whose positive thanks goes far when soldiers are putting their lives on the line:
“Thank you Whole Foods and Five Guys for supporting the National Guard. They didn’t ask to leave their families to enforce basic civility!”
“Thank you Whole Foods for taking care of our boys in blue & the National Guard. I know where I’m shopping!”
“Thank you Whole Foods for serving lunch to National Guard in Baltimore today. You have my support.”
Thankfully, Whole Foods is not backing down for feeding the troops, and I for one am thankful for their spine. The NG deserves to nosh.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner