Monday, March 8, 2010

Another U.S. Marine Comes Home to North Carolina

Is it not amazing when the infinite powers of synchro lead to discovery? Take for example what I learned yesterday by simply going out on a Four hour theoretical training ride for Ilan's best idea ever, the 220 mile Double Down. Side Note Involving Perpetual Synchro: Two hours into my four hour road bike adventure I passed coming towards me in bound from Spamerton Andreas 'Boom Boom' Raab domestiquing for Ilan(Smoot, short for Smooth) who was consulting with Brett on the roll. I cut a two wheeled u-ey and sat in with them in the opposite direction I was traveling for a few. In that short time the convo went deep plus I got to see Andreas' new safety ride with yellow panels.

Back around in the direction of my ride alone and more to the point of discovery. Another hour passed around the Booty before I had made 50 miles with 10 to get back to the estate when all of a sudden I craved a quadruple shot Americano. Out of the Booty on lap 14.5 for the Starbucks and a ceramic cup of the warmth in a sunlit window on 7th Street. I had no psychological time to consider knowing that I was just a fast Stay Alive away from where I needed to be. I was all Swazeyed out in that little warm bright nook with my real cup and one of the all they had in the free bin middle sections of Sunday's Charlotte Paper(name omitted for clarification). Right there photographically in front of me was the body of another U.S. Marine in a flag draped coffin being taken out of the hearse for burial surrounded by the ubiquitous Patriot Riders decked in thier bizarre leathers and bandannas. 30 year old Staff Sergeant-(posthumously promoted to Gunney: E6 to E7 only after death) Chris Eckard was killed in Helmand Province on February 20, 2010 a few days after Noah Pier's combat related death in the same region of Afghanistan, the Golden Door. Chris Eckard hailed from Hickory NC roughly the same distance I had already ridden at that point in my ride from where I saw and felt the impact of Noah's life and death just a few days ago. I read on about the service and burial that went down Saturday in Hickory. The info that the paper provided was vague and watered down, quoting the Marine Corps' lack of specificity on the cause of this fellow American's death. As I sat there in the ever bright sun I found it striking to understand that within a few days of time the strategy and the politic running the Dream has brought home two men killed in the same battle/logistical implementation on the other side of the planet to two towns here in the USA as far apart from each other as the distance I just finished riding. I looked up and out of the big window I was sitting in front of and saw Charlotte culture hard at work outside of two establishments, Crisp and the Stone. Life seemed quietly good, almost as if I were deaf but could see the good weather Sunday mood in the crowds of folks oblivious to the synchro I was feeling. Part of the problem is that as Thomas Ricks pointed out, Strategy is not necessarily defined as the implementation of a battle or combat action plan but more specifically strategy is what the culture of the invading Warring Country is doing while the actual war is being carried out far, far away. Okay, Ricks talked about it and my own intellectual extrapolation brings that thought to the now. With that said, I felt sad to be surrounded by such avoidance and detachment from anything physically related to our present situation on the globe. Such shine, such appearance in a now that is consumed with the facade of keeping it together when nothing is really controlled by what it is that we are all paying for. I finished reading the unfeeling article even though I was moved more with what I was feeling all around me. Just then I took the last sip of what I realized was my own learning for without it I may have never found out what I just felt when I noticed a stack of 7 yellow hand written pages on classic yellow blue line paper just to my right. It was the work of what seemed a normal man my father's age who was there before I sat down but disappeared quietly with all of his strewn out belongings minus the written transfer that he was working on when I came in. He must have reached over and left them on the table next to me while I was staring out the huge window. His writings narrated the human call for tuning in the happiness with various nobs and hand held transmitters. I shoved the work in my jersey pocket and got out of there for the last 10 miles of my day.

To the family, friends and American Citizens not presently engaged in the Wars we wage: I am truly sorry to read about Gunnery Sergeant Chris Eckard's untimely death in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

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