Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heroes Proved

My sessions of vivid dreaming have returned with the cooler evenings;  I think the extremely hot summer nights cooked the dreams right out of me.  Last night I dreamed of a knock on the door and an unfamiliar person.  Since we have only a peephole and no window, I couldn't clearly see the person.  I could only tell it was a child, male and not one I quickly recognized.  Because I was busy with other things, I decided not to answer the door to the child whom I assumed was selling things.  Yet he kept knocking.  So insistent was he with his rapping at the door that I looked again and this time could make out a dad and younger sibling nearby.  I surrendered.

The boy at the door was dressed in dark green and wearing a kufi.  His father, apologetic, explained to me that the child was supporting the effort in Kandahar.  Using his own money, he had gone to Walgreens and purchased a number of watches.  He was reselling the watches for donations.  The tears immediately started rolling down my face as I dug through my purse and fished out a $20.  As he handed me the watch I could see that he had scotch taped it to a piece of paper with a lot of childish writing on it.  The dad asked, "Are you all right ma'am?"

Through my tears I replied, "Yes.  It's just the war.  So much tragedy."

Then I woke up, as bolt upright as if a bell had rung.  Perhaps it had.

Lately I cannot stop thinking about the men and women of our armed forces.  Maybe it is because for the first time, I have sons.  I grew up in the era of the Vietnam War draft.

I am grateful for those who, at great personal cost, serve our country. Regardless of the controversial nature of wars, those who fought and those who now fight are heroes.  I find myself singing over and over the hundred year old hymn by Katherine Lee Bates, "America the Beautiful." All the verses are compelling but the third verse keeps bringing me to tears:

O beautiful for heroes prov'd
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country lov'd,
And mercy more than life.
America! America!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness,
And ev'ry gain divine.

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