The discussion I hope to generate here is an off-shoot from a thread of comments on one of my Facebook friend's walls. The initial comment was about the use of pink flags during NFL games (to bring awareness to breast cancer). How much is too much, and when is enough, enough? My personal beliefs are that while "pink" has provided much awareness to breast cancer, it has also overshadowed "purple" and the other, more serious cancers. Why? Well maybe pink has just been marketed better. While the NFL does pink, the NHL does purple. The comments however eventually moved in a different direction. Before I get started, I will say that at one time I was the pointman for Coast Guard wreath-laying ceremonies in D.C., especially the most important "Veterans Day" wreathlaying at the Coast Guard Memorial in Arlington National Cemetery (it's very easy to miss, small, at one time falling apart...it's tucked away in a corner of the cemetery). I also handled the Coast Guard's role in athletic events in Washington, D.C. That's the background. The comment I made that got things really going was about honoring veterans at sporting events. I was, at one time, a Washington Capitals season ticket holder. When I first got my tickets, once a game, there would be a "welcome the service member of the game" where someone from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard was featured, a little bio read, with video of them on the jumbo tron, and we would also stand and clap. As the seasons passed, the Capitals increased the awareness to "Welcome the service member of the game" and later "welcome other military members." And then future down the road "welcome service member of the game" and later "and other military members" and then "welcome all veterans".... each one resulted in people standing and clapping. Oh, and each little segment was sponsored by someone, SAIC or Booz or a local military job organization. But it started to get to me a little. First, we should all understand that not everyone loves the military. Second, this stuff, even patriotic stuff, can be shoved down throats, and the harder and more often it is, the less people want to swallow. Here we are in a 60 minute professional sport with three separate "honor the veterans" events. But maybe I'm just not being thankful enough. At some point I made a little "come on now, this is a little overkill.... having all the vets stand up..." and the Army veteran sitting next to me, turned and said, "exactly." Well maybe it's just the feeling of a Coast Guard officer and an Army veteran, but then the Marine Corps vet would sat in front of us added in his own agreement. Are all just taking our freedom for granted? Maybe. Or maybe sometimes even vets want to go watch 18 guys slam into eachother at high rates of speed without having the military in their fac 24/7. Maybe I had enough Coast Guard for the day, and they had enough Army or Marine Corps and they just want to get lost in the competition of the world's greatest sport? "LITS people are dying so they can be there and watch that game." True. But watching the game doesn't change that. Maybe honoring them helps bring attention to it too, just like pink. But I think as some point we're brought enough attention to it (pink or vets) and could cross into the area of general distraction... where you actually lose people to the cause. What do you think?