Sunday, November 11, 2007


I've written three or four of these things today. Not going to post them all at once, as I usually do. Space it out a bit. Nobody will know, or notice. But it's Veterans Day today, and given the tone and tenor of this blog, it behooves us to notice the fact.

My family has no military tradition. The closest lineal ancestor I have who served was a great-grandfather, in the Danish navy. That would have been 130 years ago. No, the H family has not distinguished itself on land or at sea.

But my son makes up for that, and then some. He's been in for over five years, and will be subject to recall for another two-and-a-half years. Eight in all. That's just too much. Four generations worth. He's done his duty, and mine, and my father's and grandfather's. He's cleared the books all the way back to the old Danish allegiances.

Given the times, it is quite likely that he would be recalled. He has some specialized skills, you see. No, I'm not pleased about the possibility. He has done his duty. Already been extended -- stop-loss. The option is joining the Reserves. Well, I wanted to do that back in the '90s. I was too old then. Damn. He'd be able to select which branch and which job -- make a change, control some variables.

He's looked into it and is thinking Air Force. Something called Pararescue. The attrition rate is the highest of all Special Ops, at 80%. Lots of mega-training ("Superman School") -- looks like he's already done a fair bit of it. He's already Airborne and Air Assault and medic training and the like. Elite -- as we expect of ourselves -- and life-saving. Yeah, that sounds like my boy. Like a ... like a spy! Like someone they make movies about! I could do it. I could do it still. Why did I get so old.

Veterans Day? Yes. We think of Vets as old men, often. But it's Fathers Day as well. Because we worry, you see, and there are no guarantees, and there's no going back, no undoing what's done, no "thank you" that can re-start a young heart. How do we accommodate duty and fear?

Well, resignation, of course. And faith, if we have it. But being philosophical is cold comfort. It's not peace so much as not thinking about it. That's okay. The alternative is to think about it. That's why we have Veterans Day. So that we can think about it only one day of the year, if at all.



brent said...

Tell your son, "Thank you!" And let him know I pray for him as the Spirit brings him to mind.

Will C. said...

I played on a base soccer team with a PJ (Para-rescue Jumper). As he was built like a brick s***-house, I was glad he was on our team. I did end up once going for a ball he happened to be also charging towards. I'd say could be summed up as the Stoppable Force vs. the Immoveable Object. Good guy though...
Often at twilight I'd see them parachuting out of the C-130s into the Banana or Indian Rivers.