Thursday, November 11, 2010

In Honor, In Memoriam

The leaves are falling today, and they cover the ground. My feet rustle through them, and I look at them all, lying there, fallen from the trees. It's Veteran's Day here in America, and it's a rather fitting time of year.

I saw the old men in their World War II hats collecting pocket change for the VFW. I strode across the parking lot, feeling as young as they once did, and shook their hands to thank them. I wanted to put something in the jar, but money's a little tight right now, and I only had a few twenties in my wallet. I lied to their courageous old faces and said that I had just dropped my money off at the bank. Ten minutes later, I realized - banks are closed for Veteran's Day. D'oh! Mannn....So, in honor of them, and all of the soldiers, I turn to the format of the blog.

I'm a fiercely political animal, and probably will always be. I read the editorials almost every day, and watch the politics play out in Washington like a mean-spirited football game. I've volunteered on several campaigns, and have been involved for years. I also love history, and am fascinated with the stories. Throw all that in the mix, and you could imagine how I ponder on days like today, when I see my friends wound up so tight from time spent in Iraq...When I shake the hands of those guys from the VFW, and wonder how many times those frail fingers had to pull a trigger...When I look over at some music gear that a vet friend gave me, and wonder how in the world did he emerge from brutal war to be so generous and kind, much less alive?

It all confuses me, and the first place I go is the causes and solutions of conflict. But then my political questions subside, and I put them away. It strikes me that we should have a day, maybe the day after Veteran's Day, when we ask ourselves these questions.

For me, today is about them, and honoring them, and realizing what a part of their lives they've given up. To remember their buddies who, like the leaves today, covered the ground, and who aren't around to reach for the sunshine. To reach out to the grunt who just lived through hell in the desert, and who's maybe having a bit of a tough time getting used to life stateside. To remember all of the wars, and all of the tears, and all of the struggle and sacrifice. I think of the chill I got looking at the Iwo Jima memorial, and how they left plenty of room on the pedestal - that's where they carve the names of the battles. I think of all of this, and the immensity of the thoughts are staggering. I'm not quite sure what to do - except to shake the hands, doff my cap, and honor their sacrifice.

And I do.

In Honor, In Memoriam,

- Josh

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