I have often heard people make mention that ďprideĒ is one of mankindís greatest sins.

To some degree, that is an accurate statement, as it is not uncommon to hear about somebody losing somebody or something they love because they let their pride override all logical thought. And our countryís history is riddled with men of great power who allowed pride to be their downfall.

To me, though, there is a different sort of pride that cannot be lumped into the egotistical definition which I feel is referred to in the biblical sense. After all, how many parents out there show pride when their children accomplish an impressive feat or reach an important milestone? How many of us display our pride for the country we live in, or for the soldiers who fight for its freedom each and every day?

Saturday was a day of realization for me in that regard.

I was able to watch as nearly 150 U.S. Marines made their way from the Corpus Christi International Airport to their respective areas of residence. One group headed to Harlingen, while the others made their way into Corpus Christi. From there, the Marines would move back to the cities they called home. I spoke to some from San Antonio, others from the Coastal Bend.

Each one of them, though, had the same reaction ó appreciation. They were grateful at the amount of support shown by ordinary people, who gave up their time on Saturday just to wait along downtown Corpus Christi to welcome them home. Some of those people waited for hours in the South Texas sunshine and heat in order to do so, but it was something they did without hesitation.

That same night, nearly 100 individuals attended the 11th annual Miss Cottonfest Pageant in Robstown to cheer on 12 candidates competing in three separate categories. Every one of the young women taking part in the pageant took the stage in the Robstown High School Auditorium, in front of all those people, to answer questions and, in some cases, perform talent routines.

Miss Texas USA, Brittany Booker, spoke to me following the pageant about the courage each girl displayed with their performance. Itís not easy, she said, for someone to participate in a pageant when all eyes are on you. But each one of the contestants on Saturday did just that without so much as a glimpse of nervousness.

That takes a certain type of bravery that most people, myself included, just do not possess.

So, if pride is one of mankindís greatest sins, consider me in need of a seat in the confessional booth, because I was proud to see each and every one of our local soldiers return home Saturday, and I was doubly impressed with the courage shown by the Miss Cottonfest contestants, especially six-year-old Elisabeth Martinez.

Iím sure Iím not alone when I say this community has every reason to be proud of them, as well.

Tim Olmeda is the Managing Editor for the?Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at