Day by Day

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Celebrate Memorial Day

This has really begun to get under my skin. I'll be watching tv, and a commercial comes on asking us to help such-and-such a store to "Celebrate" Memorial Day.


Just how do we "celebrate" Memorial Day? Memorial Day being the day where the country honors those who've died in service to the country's armed forces, what would be appropriate?

Perhaps we could throw a wild party?

Maybe drop a couple thousand dollars on the latest entertainment system?

What's a great way to celebrate?

I'm not quite sure how I am expected to revel in the deaths of fellow servicemen, past and present. Perhaps the sales managers could help explain it to me?

I know, let's ask the folks who've come up to me, no doubt meaning well, who have come up to me wishing me a "Happy Memorial Day!" I suppose we could go to the nearest cematary and blow party whistles and throw confetti?

If people today don't understand the concept of Memorial Day, then how are we to expect them to understand the concept of the sacrifices of our modern day Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coasties?

Just generally disgusted with where we've gone...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

After the Goodbye

I was traveling this past weekend, and on my return, I came across a scene in the airport. It's a common scene that's played out in airports all around the country, and one that I'm painfully familiar with.

And sadly, it's likely one that the majority of people are (blissfully) unaware of.

I watched the whole scene, as it played out, from beginning to end. I recognized it, and was captivated, not so much by what was happening, but the surrounding action in the airport.

What was it?

I spotted a Soldier on his way back from his R&R. From reading his uniform, I could tell he's serving in Iraq. His wife was there, as they clung to every last second they could. Trying to avoid the inevitable.

She looked spectacular - having dressed well for this last time together. He was in his uniform. (Hint: Generally speaking, Soldiers travel in civilian clothes, so when you see one in uniform... odds are good they're enroute to/from the war zone. There are exceptions, but... odds are.)

Surrounding them was a boisterous crowd of folks going easily amongst their lives, unaware of the drama unfolding before them. Literally completely surrounding them, lives were going on, while theirs was coming back to a skidding halt. The two weeks of bliss in the midst of their (now) fifteen plus month hell having come down to the final minutes.

I recognized the emotions. They both were quiet, not saying much if anything at all. And then, the decision was made. It happens to all. Whether it's the urge to exert some control over something they have so little control over, or just the desire to stop putting off the inevitable, it's the same every time. Sometime before it's actually necessary to say goodbye, the couple suddenly stiffen up, share a last goodbye, a kiss, maybe a tight hug. And then, as this wife did, the spouse will exit. Quickly.

I watched her leave. She couldn't have walked any faster, any more deliberately, unless she'd broken out into a run.

And he... he went and sat down. I took the picture below. I was moved to take it as the contrast between the Soldier as his world has crashed down, and he's trying to transition his mind back to where he's going, and seal off the feelings from his R&R, and the crowd around him.

I admit, it's a poor quality picture. It was on my cell phone. But, if you look in the center, you'll see this Soldier.

This scene plays out very often, too often. I remember playing the part myself.

Just wanted to share something that happened in one corner of the world today.