I found America today.
Oh, she's not lost, it's just that several impostors have tried to take her place.
She looks better than ever.
I found her in the hot noontime sun where an occasional breeze helped the American flags flap at the Chattanooga National Cemetery.
America was there to lay to rest one of its own.
His name was Richard (Lance) Deal, 57, a homeless veteran who served in the United States Army.
America was there, standing in the sun, grouped around a few shade trees, or under the pavilion where Mr. Deal's flag-draped casket rested.
Her many faces stood quietly.
Aging veterans who could still snap off a salute, others in wheelchairs, and some holding flags.
Hundreds of men and women who just for today, for this hour, were united.
There were no strangers. Just Americans.
No one there knew Mr. Deal. But he was one of us.
The preacher eulogized him saying, "Corp. Deal signed a blank check payable to the United States of America. That same check has also been signed by every veteran."
So as the 21-gun salute echoed across the hilly cemetery where thousands rest, America listened.
And when taps echoed across the way, America cried.
A soldier was coming home.
God bless you Corp. Deal.
Thank you for your service.
And thank you for showing me America again.