So much is personally invested in 9/11 for us. A recent CNN survey found about half of us observed the tragic day in a personal manner. Americans are bearing the sorrow in that deep, quiet way which seldom gets front page publicity.
So it is with trepidation I find a fairly large number of my family, including granddaughter Kaebry, are on an airliner traveling to Texas to be there when nephew Logan graduates from the United States Air Force . This takes place against the backdrop of the saber rattling in the direction of Syria.
I recall all of the aviator’s humor shared with me down through the years. You know, any landing is a good landing. Ron White’s routine on what happens when the fourth engine fails. The helicopter pilots referring to powerlines as widowmakers. Metaphors like building the plane as we fly it and those airplane catastrophe movies before Airplane don’t help much to bolster my confidence either.
I vaguely recall a movie where one passenger successfully argues the plane they are on is close to a horrible failure. Even more unsettling for me with my mother hen switch turned on is the fact I’ve only been in small aircraft where I could tangibly gauge the distance from my boot soles to the ground. I have no wisdom to give them on how to pack, what to wear or layovers. They’re on their own. Admittedly, it would be entertaining to see if toddler Kaebry is the least bothered by takeoff and landing that the rows of relatives around her. (She is close to talking now, and I shudder to think of some adjectives she may learn.)
My profession doesn’t help either. Let’s face it folks. Ten thousand planes could land safely and you won’t see me. One crash and there I am taking pictures and asking questions. It’s human nature and so is curiosity. I find it another admirable trait of some to not only bear sorrow but to forge loss into something positive. That’s what my family’s doing. Turning empty nesting into pride.
My nephew, like the McKeithen twins I recently interviewed, summoned up his grit and signed up. It’s a lot of what we do. Think of it, I found out recently many of the soldiers in the Revolutionary War were young. It was the same with WWII and Vietnam and it remains today. While it scared me to have Logan get involved with the military with so many hot, shooting wars going on I also remember desperately longing to leave my little home town. Like the McKeithens, Logan had no thought about the danger. He was a firefighter and just pushed through that concern. We’re all doing that in one form or another these days.
I remembered it was good for me to get out into a bigger world for a short time and get a little perspective. It made going back to Giles County a whole lot more meaningful. That needs to happen in some way for a lot of our children. You find out if you’re big city or small town.
So I’m just waiting to hear the stories about the great Texas adventure and see the pictures of graduation. I’m looking forward to it. Remembering can happen in both directions. May God bless those who serve the common good, who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952.