Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Silence

I thanked my favorite veteran this morning. He said I was welcome.

We did it all by text, thereby maintaining a respectful silence, I suppose. At the end of his response he said, simply, "I miss you." He's not overseas, he's a veteran, he's not even on inactive duty anymore so he's in quite a safe place but a place I have never been and probably won't be. I don't know when I'll see him again. I miss him too so I told him. And we move on. He'll call me on his way home from work sometime soon and I'll finally tell him that Emily has died and he'll tell me how things worked out with his son's teacher and finally he'll pull into his driveway and we'll part ways again for an undetermined amount of time.

I had a lot of trouble with his decision to enlist. It took us years of talking to come to this odd balance of our feelings on the subject. He sees all the things he feels he gained from the experience and I remain a champion of the person I lost the minute he started basic training. What we've held onto throughout, however, was the unshakable fact of our friendship. If I were to give him one gift on this day of thanks it would be to say that it's possible (just possible) that his time in the service strengthened that bond by making it something we both had to choose to hang onto.

I have a lot of trouble with this war (these wars) we're in now. I think that it is an absolute and ridiculous clusterfuck built on a foundation of fearmongering and lies. Most importantly on a day like today I think that the people who pay the biggest price for this ineffectual power grab are the men and women of the United States Armed Services. They are keeping to a contract to do as they are asked. The people who are doing the asking, though, have put them in a series of situations with no possible good outcome for anyone, least of all them.

I hope that we can come to a place of peace soon. I hope that these brave, loyal men and women can come home and that it is possible for them to heal. In the mean time all I can do is thank them all, past, present and future, for being the sort of people upon whom one can depend.

Today is Veterans' Day. Please take a moment to hold our veterans in your heart.

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