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Memorial Day vignette

May 30, 2006

Over the weekend (blogging a little late on this), I overheard a young, uniformed National Guard cavalryman talking about his upcoming deployment.  He was talking to the slightly older, buzz-cut guy in the line behind him.  I don’t know how they started talking, the uniformed guy was holding a baby in a car seat and was standing beside a young girl who turned out to be his sister, but they were well into it when I approached behind.

The experienced soldier, he too of the National Guard, had spent two years in Iraq, was listing the pros and cons of the upcoming deployment: around Bagdad airport, good, good—a safe zone inside a safe zone.  What?  They are not housing you there?  You have to drive in?  That’s not so good.  

Two older guys were in the line ahead, one with a Korean vet baseball cap on.  I can only assume some sort of grandfather or uncle to the uniformed guy.  If right, that put a family history of service into the mix.  

Both of the young guys talked about going into the Guard because in the area there is not much else to do.  They talked in terms of how much longer till their contract completes (December for the experienced soldier).  The uniformed kid, shifting the baby from arm to arm, said that his unit is being activated for the first time since WWII.  Theirs is apparently way down the food-chain, but they are being called up now.  He was from the area (small town to the north) as was the experienced guy.  

An older veteran wearing his cap proudly.  A young, spit-polished soldier on his way out, spending time with his sister and niece, wearing his dress uniform smartly.  And a young, experienced soldier with Oakley shades perched on his three-finger cut.  A random encounter on Memorial Day, small town middle America.


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