Monday, November 08, 2004

Night Stalkers Don't Quit

Friday night I donned my father's old flight jacket--complete with Helasron Two and Tonkin Gulf Yacht Club patches, among others--and went to the National Air and Space Museum for a lecture. It was the 8th annual Flight Jacket Night, but I went more to see CWO Michael Durant (USA-Ret.) His lecture was part of series on military aviation, and so he talked about flying, especially rotary aircraft, in the U.S. armed forces. Surprisingly he spoke less about Mogadishu then I expected, and more about the military in general, and also as a general frame of reference for his book, which he hawked with some skill to an obviously sympathetic audience.

I was, as I always am, awed and filled with admiration for the job done by men and women in the military. He spoke of being shot down, and losing comrades, and being a POW, as though it were a matter of course. Not coldly, but nothing dramatic, nothing sensationalized, no bragging--just the facts, ma'am. Despite agreeing with many of the things he said, I felt a bit discomfited while I was there, especially coming off of the week we had just had. The lost election, and my deep upset at the prospect of an increasingly conservative, Republican nation was DEFINITELY a minority opinion in that theater. But by the same token I think it made for a good lesson to me of how, while disagreeing with many Americans on some things, we can find common ground on others.

Besides...I'll take any excuse I can get to wear the jacket.


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