Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Where are we headed?

A couple of interesting and thought-provoking posts crashed together in my head today, and the pieces are still forming back together into an image. Before I try to describe that image, you need to go read the posts for yourself.

First, John Donovan initiates a discussion On the Democrats, Republicans, and the waging of the war, and looks at the shape of politics under the specter of the Global War on Terror, and how that shape will affect our decisions in the 2008 elections, and beyond. Make sure that you continue into the comments ... as with many discussions at the Castle they are as important as the post.

When you are ready to continue, the next stop is Our Society's Undoing, from America's Son. Dip into the mind and heart of one of the Sheepdogs who knows the face of the enemy in Iraq, and the face of the criminal enemies of our society.

Still with me? Good.

Be honest - did you spend a few moments wondering why you bothered to get out of bed today, if we're all going to hell in a handbasket? The thought flashed through my mind. But I'm not able to dwell long in that state, so I found something that happened over the weekend to help balance the grim outlook.

Last Saturday, I joined with the fine folks at Operation Support Our Troops for a rally in celebration of Armed Forces Day, at the Memorial Park in my town. In addition to OSOT, there were members of the American Legion of Washington, and several teams of the local Issaquah School District NJROTC units - including color guard, rifle team and a bugler. We even had a visit from my Congressman, Dave Reichert (8th district). After the speeches and ceremonies, the presentation of the wreath, and 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps, we adjourned to the main intersection in town (a block away) to wave signs of support and wave to the drivers by.

One of my favorite parts of the day, however, was before the events began. I found myself standing next to a young man in cadet uniform, both of us alone - and I struck up a conversation with him. Randy turned out to be a high school senior and senior member of the local NJROTC, and his role for Saturday was to play Taps. We talked for almost 15 minutes, during which time I learned of his college plans (he will attend UW in the fall), about his family (he is the youngest), and about the horn he would be playing - which actually wasn't a bugle.

We talked about some of his friends, who were also members of the Junior ROTC program, and have graduated from high school already. Some of these young men are already enlisted in the military, and Randy told me that some of them are being deployed this year. I gave Randy one of the AnySoldier.com cards that I always carry, and asked him to pass the site along to his friends, so that someday one of us can send them support to ease their time.

If at least half of the class of 2007 is as personable, bright and dedicated as Randy is, then I know that the future has great possibilities.