Posts Tagged ‘honor’

Breathless

Monday, October 14th, 2013
Breathe

Silverlake, High Sierras. Two standup paddleboarders , fishing

Is not the same as being full of life. The word Ha’ole in Hawaiian translates roughly as being without breath. When we come into this world, it is the first thing we do, draw breath. As we leave, it is the last. We expel it.

I have long seen it evidenced that the heart and soul of culture can benefit deeply by being connected to Nature, especially through water. It is both breath and life. This is why indigenous cultures consider themselves to be a vital part of nature and the eco system. They are inseparable from it.

This is one of the principle reasons I found the shuttering of National Parks and enforced disenfrachisement of the American Public, such an offense. To me it is an indication of the complete loss of moral compass heading and corresponding duty of care, by what passes for leadership in Federal Government in both Legislative and Executive Branches today.

One really had to look no further than see the barricades put up under order of the Executive Branch at the Veteran’s Memorial on the Beltway in DC for an illustration of what we as a people have allowed to rule over us. A formerly wide open and unsecured area, the Memorial was built by the people of this Nation to honor the people who served at great cost, to preserve this Nation and it’s inalienable rights on the field of battle.

The President had it locked down. That was expensive. And I am not speaking merely of the likely 1000 fold increase in daily expense to fence and guard the Memorial, but of the complete loss of respect for the rule of law in this Country.

Because what does one do when Governance becomes Rule and Tyranny descends?

The Veterans once again, led the way.

In defiance of a Federal shutdown of the Vets Memorial by the Executive Branch,the people of the US occupied it.

In defiance of a Federal shutdown of the Vets Memorial by the Executive Branch,the people of the US, occupied it.

Here is some coverage of what has been going on, which Factory Media has declined to air.

Freedom was never free. While the black hearted nature of many in leadership depresses me, the courage of these Veterans and their families and our heavily downtrodden working class, is indicative of strength and hope.

I had thought on what the American Flag means to many recently, and recognized, especially watching very educated people fall willingly into partisan thinking once more, that maybe she should be flown upside down for now. Those of you with Military or nautical backgrounds will know what that means.

I ran across this piece by Nahko Bear. It is called My Country. One man’s take on the land he loves.

I hope all the Artists and Musicians pick up their tools and get to work.

Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are inalienable rights. Best to recognize when they disappear, that someone has sold them and in process, you. Did you know that an inalienable right is one given by God?

Maybe think about that.

Pursuit of Happiness

Pursuit of Happiness

 

Hope and Change

Friday, June 29th, 2012

While both the Democratic and Republican camps spend an incomprehensible amount of money, the country suffers as a result of their awful mismanagement and extremely deep corruption.
Several years ago, I began to notice, as I returned from travel around the world, and would fly into LAX, that it was beginning to feel increasingly more like a Third World Nation, here in the US.
I am not saying that I was not grateful to be home. I always am, and thank the Customs Officers as they welcome me back. Some of them have been at their post for as long as I can recall. (I have been working as a photographer, film maker and writer since 1998. It seems like one or two of the guys have been there, each time that I return)
It had proceeded to become increasingly obvious to me, that what we know as being trappings of the American Dream, were going away. I could see our affluence of Spirit, ebbing.
Our system is under attack from within, via it’s leadership. Being here and witnessing the demise-change is interesting. In a Nation known for it’s affluence, great poverty of spirit is being exhibited, and a level of selfishness that I seldom see in my travels, has come to roost here. Like a vulture, it picks at the still bloody, bones of the remnants of freedom.
City on a Hill

City on a Hill

All I can really do, is endeavor to be a light. As we see these men and women, many of them lost souls, take words and ideals sacred to us, and dash them to the ground, it is important to recognize that our Country does indeed have a responsibility to be that often quoted description of the “City on a Hill”.

The real task is to make sure that the light comes from each one of us, and not the Polyarchy, as they burn the structure of the Republic, to the ground.

Seth Godin poses a question. Do we have to pander?

The Fourth of July is right around the corner. Many cherish the Holiday as Independence Day. Increasingly rare commodity, independence. I hope the country takes a good look around, in this time.  Remember that someone died for your independence, your freedom. I hope that we all honor that, and live for it.

Fireworks are significant.

Independence Day, Santa Barbara, California

Independence Day, Santa Barbara, California

Truth Glows

Saturday, February 18th, 2012
Darkness and Lightness: Flow

Darkness and Lightness: Flow

Big difference between the darkness of a Lie and brightness of Truth.

Seth Godin absolutely nails the job description of the Creative, in this blogpost he titles Transparent or Translucent.

Below is a fascinating story taken from an internet hoax of sorts where someone twisted the TRUTH and did it to their own benefit.

My Colleague and friend, Shawn Alladio injected some light into it. This is the true story! Glowing.

 

CELEBRATED AS OUR AMERICAN HERO
Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL)
Michael Anthony Monsoor
April 5, 1981 – Sept. 29, 2006
Petty Officer Second Class Michael Anthony Monsoor was born April 5, 1981 in Long Beach, Calif.  Michael grew up in Garden Grove, Calif., as the third of four children of George and Sally Monsoor. He has an older brother James and older sister Sara, and a younger brother Joseph.Michael attended Dr. Walter C. Ralston Intermediate School and Garden Grove High School where he played tight end on the Argonaut football team and graduated in 1999. An incredible athlete, Mike enjoyed snowboarding, body boarding, spear fishing, motorcycle riding, and driving his Corvette. His quiet demeanor and dedication to his friends matched the “Silent Warrior” SEAL mentality that was to become his calling in life.

Michael enlisted in the U.S. Navy March 21, 2001, and attended Basic Training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.  Upon graduation from basic training, he attended Quartermaster “A” School, and then transferred to Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy for a short period of time.

Petty Officer Monsoor entered Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, Calif., and subsequently graduated with Class 250 on Sept. 2, 2004 as one of the top performers in his class. After BUD/S, he completed advanced SEAL training courses including parachute training at Basic Airborne School, Fort Benning, Ga., cold weather combat training in Kodiak, Alaska, and six months of SEAL Qualification Training in Coronado, graduating in March 2005. The following month, his rating changed from Quartermaster to Master-at-Arms, and he was assigned to SEAL Team 3 Delta Platoon. He deployed with his platoon to Iraq in April 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and was assigned to Task Unit Bravo in Ar Ramadi.

From April to Sept. 29, 2006, Mike served as a heavy weapons machine gunner in Delta Platoon, SEAL Team 3.  During combat patrols he walked behind the platoon point man with his Mk 48 machinegun so that he could protect his platoon from a frontal enemy attack.  Mike was also a SEAL communicator.  On 15 operations, he carried a rucksack full of communications equipment in addition to his machinegun and full ammunition load-out.  Collectively it weighed more than 100 pounds.  He bore the weight without a single complaint, even in the midst of the 130 degree Western Iraqi summer.

Petty Officer Second Class (SEAL) Michael A. Monsoor recieved the Medal of Honor posthumously in a ceremony at the White House April 8, 2008, for his actions in Ar Ramadi, Iraq on Sept. 29, 2006. On that day, Monsoor was part of a sniper overwatch security position with three other SEALs and eight Iraqi Army (IA) soldiers. An insurgent closed in and threw a fragmentation grenade into the overwatch position. The grenade hit Monsoor in the chest before falling to the ground. Positioned next to the single exit, Monsoor was the only one who could have escaped harm. Instead, he dropped onto the grenade to shield the others from the blast. Monsoor died approximately 30 minutes later from wounds sustained from the blast. Because of Petty Officer Monsoor’s actions, he saved the lives of his 3 teammates and the IA soldiers.
Though he carried himself in a calm and composed fashion, he constantly led the charge to bring the fight to the enemy. His teammates recall his sense of loyalty to God, family, and his team.  He attended Catholic Mass devotionally before operations, and often spoke lovingly of his family – his older brother, a police officer and former Marine for whom he held great respect; his sister, a nurse; and his younger brother, a college football player.Mike was one of the bravest men on the battlefield, never allowing the enemy to discourage him. He remained fearless while facing constant danger, and through his selfless nature and aggressive actions, saved the lives of coalition soldiers and his fellow SEALs.  He was a loyal friend and exceptional SEAL, and he is sorely missed by his brothers in Task Unit Bravo.

He is survived by his mother Sally, his father George, his sister Sara, and his two brothers James and Joseph.

During the funeral, as the coffin was moving from the hearse to the grave site, Navy SEALs were lined up forming a column of twos on both sides of the pallbearers route, with the coffin moving up the center. As the coffin passed each SEAL, they slapped down the gold Trident each had removed from his own uniform and deeply embedded it into the wooden coffin. For nearly 30 minutes the slaps were audible from across the cemetery as nearly every SEAL on the west coast repeated the ceremony.
The display moved many attending the funeral, including U.S. President George W. Bush, who spoke about the incident later during a speech stating: “The procession went on nearly half an hour, and when it was all over, the simple wooden coffin had become a gold-plated memorial to a hero who will never be forgotten
Medal of Honor citation

Michael A. Monsoor’s Medal of Honor pictured with the Navy Special Warfare (SEAL) Trident.
“The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to

 

MASTER AT ARMS SECOND CLASS, SEA, AIR and LAND
MICHAEL A. MONSOOR
UNITED STATES NAVY

 

For service as set forth in the following CITATION:
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Automatic Weapons Gunner for Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 29 September 2006. As a member of a combined SEAL and Iraqi Army sniper overwatch element, tasked with providing early warning and stand-off protection from a rooftop in an insurgent-held sector of Ar Ramadi Iraq, Petty Officer Monsoor distinguished himself by his exceptional bravery in the face of grave danger. In the early morning, insurgents prepared to execute a coordinated attack by reconnoitering the area around the element’s position. Element snipers thwarted the enemy’s initial attempt by eliminating two insurgents. The enemy continued to assault the element, engaging them with a rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fire. As enemy activity increased, Petty Officer Monsoor took position with his machine gun between two teammates on an outcropping of the roof. While the SEALs vigilantly watched for enemy activity, an insurgent threw a hand grenade from an unseen location, which bounced off Petty Officer Monsoor’s chest and landed in front of him. Although only he could have escaped the blast, Petty Officer Monsoor chose instead to protect his teammates. Instantly and without regard for his own safety, he threw himself onto the grenade to absorb the force of the explosion with his body, saving the lives of his two teammates. By his undaunted courage, fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of certain death, Petty Officer Monsoor gallantly gave his life for his country, thereby reflecting great credit upon himself and upholding the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Silver Star citation

“For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy as Platoon Machine Gunner in Sea, Air, Land Team THREE (SEAL-3), Naval Special Warfare Task Group Arabian Peninsula, Task Unit Ramadi, in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM on 9 May 2006. Petty Officer Monsoor was the Platoon Machine Gunner of an overwatch element, providing security for an Iraqi Army Brigade during counter-insurgency operations. While moving toward extraction, the Iraqi Army and Naval Special Warfare overwatch team received effective enemy automatic weapons fire resulting in one SEAL wounded in action. Immediately, Petty Officer Monsoor, with complete disregard for his own safety, exposed himself to heavy enemy fire in order to provide suppressive fire and fight his way to the wounded SEAL’s position. He continued to provide effective suppressive fire while simultaneously dragging the wounded SEAL to safety. Petty Officer Monsoor maintained suppressive fire as the wounded SEAL received tactical casualty treatment to his leg. He also helped load his wounded teammate into a High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle for evacuation, then returned to combat. By his bold initiative, undaunted courage, and complete dedication to duty, Petty Officer Monsoor reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

 Bronze Star citation

“For heroic achievement in connection with combat operations against the enemy as Task Unit Ramadi, Iraq, Combat Advisor for Naval Special Warfare Task Group – Arabian Peninsula in Support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM from April to September 2006. On 11 different operations, Petty Officer Monsoor exposed himself to heavy enemy fire while shielding his teammates with suppressive fire. He aggressively stabilized each chaotic situation with focused determination and uncanny tactical awareness. Each time insurgents assaulted his team with small arms fire or rocket propelled grenades, he quickly assessed the situation, determined the best course of action to counter the enemy assaults, and implemented his plan to gain the best tactical advantage. His selfless, decisive, heroic actions resulted in 25 enemy killed and saved the lives of his teammates, other Coalition Forces and Iraqi Army soldiers. By his extraordinary guidance, zealous initiative, and total dedication to duty, Petty Officer Monsoor reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Regards,Shawn Alladio
K38 Rescue

Be not just hearers of the Truth, but doers also. Matthew 7:21

GLOW!

Repose

Monday, December 7th, 2009
Repose

Repose

Our lives are a lot like that of a wave, in how we roll through the sea of life, in an ocean of existence, headed for some place. But unlike a wave, we have choices we can make that determine our final destiny. Those choices determine who, and what we are, because we learn from them. Hopefully making for a somehow “better” you and I. The ability to choose is what makes us human. The desire to select by principle, can make us something else.

In the Gospel there is a key saying that has always spurred me when I needed it: “Faith without works is dead.” I sometimes need the spur to be taken to me. My friends and subjects are generally quite happy to oblige.

A simple e mail had dropped into my G mail in box mid week. It was from Venturan Steven Schleder, someone I had met in the course of our recent city elections. The crux of the message was: :”Are you still going?” The letter was in reference to a Memorial service for Col Lewis Millett. A man who had dropped everything and come to Steven’s aid several years ago in a quest to restore a desecrated graveyard in Ventura. You can read a little about that here via K38 Rescue’s blog. My home town did something vile in it’s past. Many believe that honor dictates the desecrated graveyard be restored somehow. Steven had been the sole man to charge up that hill. The city understandably, sought to marginalize him.  Now there are many more behind him. The number swells as our honor bound friends hear the sordid tale.

When I agree to shoot something, I know that my simple “yes” means anywhere from 2-5 days worth of work. In this case I had said yes 6 days prior and promptly shelved the affirmation. (I had forgotten about it.) Steven also asked if I could maybe shoot motion. Imagine a slot machine and all the little icons whizzing by.  Ding ding ding! That was my psyche the day I realized that my own word had snared me. Okay I would shoot a film now, in addition to stills.

A quick e mail to my partners and colleagues asking for someone to step forward, brought three responses from three men. Tyler Swain and Rob Dafoe would do it if there was no other. Aaron Marcellino said that though he had just arrived back in town by train that day, and was moving into a new house, he would be at my door at 6:30 Saturday morning with his motion kit. We have a good group. Any of us would come at a moment’s notice for another’s project. Each person has mad skills.

Aaron and I arrived at the Riverside Memorial which stands overlooking March AFB at 9:30 am and dragged our gear a 1/2 mile or so and without a word, fell into our separate production roles.

What passed before my eyes remains burned into my psyche. It will make for a great short film. I look forward to completing it. You can read more about Col Millett here.

If you have never been to a Military memorial, please take some time and look at these images. We made them to honor Col Lewis Millet: Medal of Honor holder, but much more than that, a man of God who earned his repose in a dedication to country, family and honor, out of love for his fellow man. No, the irony does not escape me. It enforces just how important this country and a true moral compass heading are.

This beautiful piece was sent along by my old friend, Terry Irwin. It says a lot about the human condition.

As we head towards Christmas, maybe ponder a little bit about sacrifice, love and strength. Have you made a choice about who and what you will follow? What shore you will wash up on?

Here is a beautiful piece about Christmas and small honors leading to great things.  Think about the beat of the snare as you see the casket headed for the dirt of a cemetery. Now think about someone bulldozing the thing. My town did that. They made it into a dog park. Bad choice.

Howitzer detail. Grave field.

Howitzer detail. Grave field.

Shawn Alladio.

Shawn Alladio.

How will your epitaph read?

How will your epitaph read?

From Drew Kampion:


A Song for Occupations
by Walt Whitman

(1819-1892)



Will you seek afar off? you surely come back at last,
In things best known to you finding the best, or as good as the best,
In folks nearest to you finding the sweetest, strongest, lovingest,
Happiness, knowledge, not in another place but this place, not for
another hour but this hour …


Collateral Damage

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Jacqueline

Jacqueline

 

 

I was 23 years old and saying a tearful goodbye to my wife of one month in LAX departures. As I slunk back in my seat moments later, and heard the soft thunk of the cabin door closing, I noticed Shaun Tomson sitting a few seats away. Dane Kealoha was nearby, and behind him I saw Mark Richards. We were all headed for Hawaii and what would be my first travel leg of the then IPS world tour. 

 

The next ten years or so of my life consisted of moments like that: traveling alone, or with some of my pro surfer pals from California. The goodbyes were frequently followed by amazingly wonderful hellos a month or so later. The stress on our marriage, though real, was manageable. We both had known what we were getting into. 

 

There is something magnificent about the bond between a man and woman committed to each other. It just feels sacred. My wife had never complained about my other mistress. The sea would always give me back. She knew that it would never do anything but wash me home. It was not an enemy, but part of our bond. We both got that about each other. We were able to share it. 

 

I bailed on my busy work schedule last week. The details of life sometime necessitate we take care of things like house, taxes, cars. I was resigned to a drive down coast to Encinitas to drop off a commercial job for a client, and trade in my 07 car, which had reached that crossroad of diminishing value that occurs at around 60 k miles. 

 

A very patient car saleswoman named Barb Shev, had borne with me as I decided to trade my car in on a 2010 version. I had dropped her a simple note hello. A query and in two e mails later and Barb had ferreted out a deal that gave me a good trade in amount on my car and a great price and financing on the newer model. But getting away had been almost impossible. I finally picked a day and resolved to  just drop everything else and go. I had bought a car before from that dealership, and it had been a straight shot, no BS in and out thing. I needed that. 

 

On the way out the door my girlfriend Donna (Hey, the marriage DID last 20 years. That is another story) asked if I was bringing a camera. I was not intending to. Like a bad school child, I stomped back into my camera room and grabbed a little Canon Rebel T1i and a 10-17 fisheye zoom lens. Why that lens? Because it was already ON the body. I was not into making more post production for myself. I already had six stills shoots and three motion projects awaiting my attention. No shooting was planned for me that day. But Donna knows me well, and she smiled as she saw me stomping out the door and kissed me goodbye. I was grumpy. I like my car. I hate LA freeways. Harumph. My shiny black Mazdaspeed 3 came to life with a smooth rumble at the touch of a key. It had been a seamless performer for 3 years. I had disassembled and reassembled it almost as a child would a model car. I like cars. I like speed. I know both quite well. 

 

Listening to AM 1070 for the traffic news, I found myself whizzing up on OC via I 5, and dialed my friend Shawn Alladio, who I knew lived there somewhere . She picked up. Turns out that the next exit was hers. In a few minutes I had found my way to her house and she met me at the curb, wearing camo pants, a Liquid Militia tee shirt, and a soft smile. 

 

We do not get to catch up in person much. She owns and operates a global water safety company called K38 Rescue. One of the smartest, toughest, most fair people that I know. I am lucky enough to have had her tutor me in Ocean Rescue, PWC operation, risk assessment, and be my friend. She had been through a lot lately, and I was really glad to wrap my arms around her. I care about my friends. This one had been to hell and back several times recently in her work. A slew of awards for heroism had been the by product. But there had also been collateral damage no one saw but family and close friends. 

Shawn’s blog is here. Read it if you want insight into a very remarkable woman and her world. 

 

Coffee at Peets in a trippy nearby mall (I had been up since 3am working and needed a cup) had Shawn asking if I wanted company. 

 

So down the 5 we went, sipping our coffee and catching up. As we passed Pendleton, a powder blue Pacific glistened beyond the ocre brown of the coastal chapparal. Shawn asked if it would be okay if we stopped on Base after the car thing. She said that there was someone she wanted me to meet. I said sure. 

 

Barb met us at the door of a very quiet Penske Mazda, standing in the midst of other very quiet dealerships. She looked the same as when I had last seen her 5 years ago. She pointed out the shiny new black MS3 sitting next to my shiny older and rather sinister looking MS3. “There is your new car David. Want to go for a test drive?” And then she smiled as I declined. Barb knew I was likely on a mission. She helped. 

 

While Shawn chatted with her, I met with the same finance guy that I had seen 5 years prior and really just had a pleasant time. In a bit, all of us were hanging in the office and talking story as the paperwork got completed. It was comfortable. But my psyche was someplace else. 

 

In a short while, we were saying our goodbyes and I settled in behind the wheel of my new car. But I did not care. And I could not figure out why. Somehow I knew that today was not about getting a car. Shawn was sweetly enthusiastic as it roared to life and we eased towards Hwy 78 and Pendleton. I was quiet. 

 

Though successful, I do not make a lot of money. I spend most of what I earn on my career tools. I should have been amped. I love cars. Here was my old car, refined and brand new. A car enthusiast’s dream. But inside, it was all pensive brooding. Something else was up. I knew the signs. 

 

At Pendleton’s gate I said that we were there to see Mike Arnold, base safety Officer down at the marine Boat Locker. We knew that Mike was having a hard day. It looked like he may have lost someone to an incident earlier. Mike takes the Marines and their lives very seriously, and one lay in a civilian hospital critically injured. A phone call confirmed that he would not be meeting us. 

 

Shawn said that her friend Jacqueline would come down to the boat docks, near the Marine Yard where she occasionally holds training courses in Ocean Rescue and boat ops. “Do you think that you could take a picture of her for her husband? He is away on deployment.” “Yea sure, I brought a camera” I said. I thought about my odd choice in lenses. Oh well, it would be a snapshot. Something for him to hold close while he was away. It would do. 

 

So we nosed into the launch area. Shawn got out and immediately headed for the water, squatting down and holding her hands in it. A sharp breeze carrying the increasing coolness of a Fall ocean, contrasted against the warm yellow light of the late afternoon sun. 

 

“She should be here soon. She is a blond. You are really going to like her.” I heard her say, hands still in water and back to me. She was recharging. The ocean does that for us. Here is a very cool video that explains why. 

 

 Camera in hand, I took a deep breath of cool salt air. It was nice to be here again. In a few minutes I saw a bright red little Chevy rolling up on us, and lots of black hair blowing out the open window. “That’s her” I heard Shawn say. “That gal has brunette hair Shawn. No, blonde, no, blond and black.” As the little red car rolled up next to mine on the pavement, I noticed that it’s tires glistened shiny black, The bright red paint glowed. The windows glistened spotless and three stickers were placed carefully on the side and back windows. This woman kept her car up. You do not see that much from 23 year old women: being into their cars. It was Jacqueline. 

 

As Shawn introduced us, she explained the hair. “Like it? I just did it.” Her long hair was close to black in color with two near white pieces that framed her face. The choice spoke a lot to me about her. “Nice car” I said. She smiled broadly. “Thanks!” I take good care of it. It’s a 2005.” (It looked as new as my fresh one). 

 

I appreciate individualism in people. I saw it standing there in front of me in the form of a confident, relaxed, charming and attractive young woman. The saying “on the threshold of life” dropped in to mind, as I asked if I could take her picture. Still unsure or entirely motivated to do anything but a simple snap shot, I did not really understand what in the heck I really was doing at that exact moment in place and time. But a nagging feeling, which had been tugging on my insides had kept up it’s persistent tapping. What was this all about? 

 

With no clear direction I began to shoot around a little bit. For the past hour my eye had been drawn to a spot of wet sand nestled into the big brown rocks of one of the jetties that framed the launch ramp. I asked Jacqueline to head down to the water. On the way, I had joked about what I do. “Yea I order people to do things and they do them.” As we passed by that spot at the jetty, I said: “Could you please just stand right over there?” 

 

Jacqueline turned, looked me square in the eye and in a revelatory and surprised fashion turned the light on for me about the purpose of my day when she said simply, “There? That is where I said goodbye to my husband.” She appeared shocked that I could know. And as enlightenment came, direction and motivation dawned as well. I knew what to shoot, what needed to be communicated. 

 

Her husband Ryan was deployed on a ship, somewhere in the Middle East. 

He was a sniper. This spot was where something sacred had occurred between the couple. In ten minutes I had shot a series of images that communicated what was involved in that sacrament. Ryan would “get it” when he saw them. Hopefully others would as well. I noticed my eyes trying to tear up as I worked. Emotion indicates something to me. So when a subject evokes it, I know exactly what to do: tell the story. 

 

Deployments are three months long generally. Ryan comes home for a month. Then it repeats. That is three times a year when the soldier’s family gets to go through the process of separation. Now goodbye, that is not just a sweet au revoir. I questioned Jacqueline about it, as she explained what she and the other wives dealt with in their relationships and the comings and goings. The stories were heavy. The implications vast. The potential damage to relationships and people a clear and present sort of danger. She began to cry as the back story arose. 

This Video tells another soldier’s story. 

 

When you are just barely out of childhood and getting your feet under you as an adult, there is a steep learning curve. I had been where she was, having married early as well, and leaving. The glaring difference being that her husband’s job was as a merchant of death. And what he would be dealing with, is an enemy whose job was to snuff him out. That is war. Ultimate conflict, with ultimate expense. 

 

 The energy of that has a ripple effect that can sweep through the harbor of a soldier’s loved ones and wreak an incredible amount of damage. For the family, the constant loss and return and loss, can create what psychiatry calls separation anxiety and other maladies. Their life consists of maintaining a relationship in spurts. 

 

 At 50 I could maybe have a decent chance of surviving it. But at 23, it is an entirely different set of skills that one may not be in possession of, that can wreak havoc. You learn fast. Or not. But in reality it is all about resolve on both peoples part to get through to the other side of this phase in a career choice that it is difficult to see clearly with young eyes. 

 

The net affect of this process creates the bond of the military family. Everyone tries to link arms figuratively. Each supports and holds up the other. It was what Shawn and I were really there for that day. To show Jacqueline that we cared about her, Ryan, and them as a family. We were spiritually linking arms. It is much more difficult for a person to be knocked down when friends, family and country hold them up. 

 

Shawn had told me a story about a fighting group on it’s way into battle in the back of a helo. They had made a pact that should one of them fall, the rest would step up in support of the family of that member of the group. They had sworn on it. A short while later one of the group had been blown to his end. When those men returned home, true to their word, they formed a support group. It is called The United Warrior Survivors Foundation. The link is here. What the UWSF and several other groups do is offer support. They try to limit and contain the collateral damage of war. That collateral damage is the type of energy that can sweep through the cultural fabric of a nation with the effectiveness of a blast. So these warriors seek to soften the blow for the rest of us. Talk about nobility. 

 

Jacqueline loves her husband, that was very obvious. But more than that, she is committed to him, spirit soul and body. She is at war. They all are. She is present and accounted for. And her reality is becoming more stark, as she realizes that the next deployment already beckons. 

 

Collateral damage. The enemy is around us. We are at war. Think about what you support and why. I did, as I eased through the steel pulse of Friday night traffic on the 405 later, with everyone else bound for someplace else, and someone. 

 

I awoke the next morning, opened my carport door and saw my shiny new car sitting there and it finally hit me. I picked up my cel and dialed Shawn. 

“Hey. I have a new car.” It had taken me that long to really notice. But I have a new friend. That part is special. And an obligation. That part is sacred. 

Shawn Recharging

Shawn Recharging

 

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Shawn and Jacqueline: Edge of the World

Shawn and Jacqueline: Edge of the World

 

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 A Sniper's Wife

A Sniper's Wife

 

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Future Perfect

Future Perfect

 

Side by  Side

Side by Side

© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.

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