Traditions are important

You might be a homeless child, but when you join the United States military, you become part of a family, heir to more than 242 years of tradition and esprit de corps. A sociologist might tell us that it’s these customs and traditions that hold the body politic together. For some of us, it’s much more visceral.

Growing up in Lumberton, for example, I always envied families that had traditional events they observed, as simple as the annual summer trek to Pontchartrain Beach, the long-gone amusement park along the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. I even still remember the advertising jingle, blasted out ad nauseam over New Orleans radio station WNOE-AM, owned by James A. Noe, one-time governor of Louisiana: “At the beach; at the beach; at Pontchartrain Beach; you’ll have fun; you’ll have fun; every day of the week; you’ll love the thrilling rides; laugh till you split your sides; that’s Pontchartrain Beach!” Unfortunately, I never made it. To paraphrase “Proud Mary,” I spent all my time “pumping ‘pane’ for the man” at the gas station where I worked.

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