Tuesday, May 29, 2007

    Memorial Day--a day late

    Previous memorial days have seen me rushing to get the lawn mowed before the local parade goes past the end of my block on their way to the town cemetery where they set off a 21 gun salute and place flags on all of the veteran's graves. I have felt it only fitting to not have the mower competing with the high school band.

    This year, well, it was much the same. I only got the front yard done before the drums could be heard in the distance.

    This year was also different because of my current project. I am working for a member of the Industrial-Military complex (but only for another week). That's right, I am embedded...sort of. I work for a contractor who is intimately wedded with the Army. So, there are fatigues just feet from me daily.

    One of the other civilian co-workers remarked last Thursday that the two majors in the office sure took a lot of time off. Before I even thought about it, I blurted out "yea, but there is that whole getting shot at thing." A little embarrassed at my quick mouth (I have only been here two weeks), I hastened to add "you know, most have been deployed twice going on three times. I feel that once stateside they can take all the time they want." And, I meant it. I hadn't thought a lot about it before, but in that moment, the entire Sheahan-anti-war thing took on a different hue. I still think W is a bumbler (if not a criminal) for his Iraq debacle, and I have always sided with the soldiers (especially the National Guard--two weeks and a weekend a month my ass!), but last week and over this last weekend it took on a deeper import for me. I actually knew some of the guys. It moved from abstract to startlingly real.

    So, I stopped mowing a little earlier, just in case the sound carried.

    Would you like me to read this to you? Listen


    Blogger Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

    My husband was in the Air Force when we got married, so I understand the process of getting to know military people (my husband was so non-military I wonder how he did 15 years!!).

    Your co-worker's attitude was typical of the civilians he worked with. The fact that civilians can't be deployed, moved, ordered to do PT at 5:30 AM etc.. and the fact that civilians take a weekend trip without taking a day of vacation are things they tend to forget when looking at an empty desk.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007  
    Blogger Piss Poor Prof said...

    My uncle was career Army, and we visited him quite often on base (Corpus Christy, Fort Polk, etc.), so I have exposure to the military life. But it seemed to hit me this last holiday in a unique way.

    Perhaps the intellectualizing of issues of the Iraq debate materialized into people. I am not quite sure. But when Major John (not his real name) talks about housing Major Tom's motorcycle in his garage while Major Tom is deployed, it puts quite a spin on things.

    I mean, what do you do with a motorcycle in your garage if, forces forbid, Major Tom doesn't come home? There is no such thing as a small favor in deployment.

    Wednesday, May 30, 2007  

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