by Andy Weddington
Sunday, 13 December 2015
Duty. Honor. Country.
Yesterday, late morning, I received a phone call from a Sailor who'd just returned home from laying wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery - Honor. Remember. Explore.
Against guidance, not orders, that Sailor decided to wear uniform. Of course! Unthinkable otherwise and such would be cowering, on our soil and hallowed grounds, before the enemy. (Note: A Marine commander, after the Tennessee terrorist attack in the summer, ordered no uniforms - and Marines unloaded on that act of stupidity and cowardice. See Post Script.)
Emotional the recap of the experience. One wreath was gifted to a friend, a fellow Sailor, murdered in the Pentagon on 9/11. Other wreaths to strangers though fellow Sailors.
At one point a boy scout, accompanied by his mother, noticed this Sailor leaking. He approached, said he noticed, and had said to his mother he felt an offer of comfort was in order. The young man's gracious and generous offer of a hug accepted. That's the scout spirit!
I listened as the Sailor described what it was like seeing hundreds and hundreds of people laying wreaths. And what it was like moving from headstone to headstone - being respectful and grateful.
I saw some photographs.
I wish I'd been there.
I also saw photos, posted on social media, taken by friends who were in the stadium for the Army Navy football game. The formations of cadets and midshipmen covering the gridiron sent a chill - of indescribable pride and peace of mind for knowing that experience of being in formations - through me.
Soon after I sat and wrote commentary (see Post Script) posted just before kick-off.
I paused, while writing, to look at my small desktop-size shadow box reflecting a modest unremarkable but remarkable life wearing uniform adorned with the eagle, globe, and anchor. There's nothing for which I'd swap those years. To do again, a dream. But still Marine.
I watched the game - while clad in olive drab sweatshirt decorated with a black Marine emblem and USMC on the left breast.
I watched not so much for the game but for the performance and conduct of the players. And thinking, today opponents but tomorrow teammates defending America. My god, how perfect.
Not disappointing, the game was close, spirited, and the play intense but clean (at least from what could be determined from a sofa seat thousands of miles away).
Soon after the game I returned to news.
One of the first clips was President Obama speaking - with emotion and conviction and personal pride for leading the way - about confronting and defeating our greatest enemy. Not who but what - climate change.
Befuddling! Some respected psychiatrists - and plenty of everyday folks, too - believe the president is delusional.
Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters, U. S. Army (Ret.), earlier in the week, had another term for the president's position(s) (again, see Post Script).
There was much on my mind over dinner and into the evening.
I retired for slumber troubled by the contrast of that heard and seen during the day.
In short, that troubled sense being the disturbing contrast of incredible sacrifices made by those who choose to serve - member and family - country and a president so out of touch with reality all of us live in danger; imminent danger, as we saw not two weeks ago in San Bernardino, California.
This morning, after a couple cups of strong coffee and thought, a summary of Saturday occurred to me. A summary appropriate for configuration as a Season's Greeting - a Christmas card, if you will - to send to the president, the commander-in-chief.
Next under is that greeting, after discarding several designs (deciding against including anything football for only the battlefield important to national survival), refined and settled on.
So, President Obama - Commander-in-Chief, on behalf of America's veterans, past and present, and patriots coast to coast and abroad, "You're Welcome! Merry Christmas!"
God help us, please, through the new year.