Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day Transfer

It is interesting to me that the birthday of the Marine Corps and Veterans Day come two days in a row every November.  The significance of these two consecutive days in my world is an end result of choices that I made long ago, following the path that I knew to be my now then.  Without simply being at that point in my life, I would now be here writing now.  I am glad that these two days are consecutive on the 365 day calendar and not spread out alone separately at two different times in the year.  The back to back order of these two different, but connected holidays in my life seems to create a more authentic impact than had they been divided by weeks or months. 

Happy Veterans Day folks.  There is no courier work to be done today for all the municipalities that I rely on for my livity source are closed in honor of recognizing the sacrifices that those who have served and are serving in the U.S. Military have made and are making.  A day off work as a bicycle messenger doesn't seem to be as exciting as like say,  day off from the bank.  Maybe I don't have to live for thank God it's Friday and three day weekends because this role in trade for pay is not that much of a drag.  Anyway, I digress.  That's not to say I am ranting negatively, just that I easily veer off the wire and head down the free fall of getting side tracked.

More on the JOYS of being a bike messenger later, for now I want to talk about the Transfer I experienced this morning.  Ms. Arcen asked me last week to attend a 'special' Veterans Day Chapel at her school. I obliged and after dropping her off for homeroom this morning, I sat in the foyer of the Church waiting and observing for about a half hour.  Veterans related to the children of the entire school body were to be recognized for their service and sacrifice.  As the minutes passed I watched the small crowd of ex service members grow to about two dozens.  There were two women present, one former Army Sergeant and an Air Force Specialist. The ages in our small group waiting in the wings ranged from the early thirties to an 89 year old man who served in WWII with the 82nd Airborne Division. 

After setting the little big camera out on the kitchen counter, I walked straight passed it on the way out.  The eyephone has a new little $1.99 camera ap called, Hipstamatic which works well in a pinch.  A voice reminded me to take the shot, so I did.

Here the lady in charge was explaining to our small group that she would like for us to line up according to the specific military branch that we served with. 
Army went first, then the Marine Corps, Air Force and Navy.  *There were no Coast Guard Veterans present.
The medals pinned to the left breast of this Army Ranger from the Korean War caught my eye. There was an experienced awareness that this man exuded.  Quietly without hesitation, he rattled off the four specific Special Operations Capable Units that he had been assigned to over a ten year time period when I asked him who he had served with. 
While we waited in the hallway to be called into the Chapel we introduced ourselves and gave brief descriptions of our military experience.  Behind me stood an ex Nay Pilot and officer who flew over Vietnam just before I was born.  Standing in front of me was an ex Marine First Sergeant who retired in 1986 after 25 years of active duty. 
The senior ranking Veteran on deck was this First Sergeant from the Army who spent 35 years of his life in.  He led our procession into the packed Chapel where we queued up along the right hand wall under the vibrantly colorful stained glass windows.
SSGT Rob stood behind the Marine First Sergeant for me to make this picture. 
Each of the hymns of the four branches present were sung by a real choir and live musical accompaniment in the order that we walked up and onto the stage.  When the Navy hymn ended , we were in a line across the stage standing there being seen and felt by the entire student body(Nursery School through 12th). Plus in attendance were the staff, faculty, friends of the school and several parents and relatives.  There were over a thousand humans standing in the rows facing us.  All of a sudden without warning, applause started.  It was quiet at first, but then it quickly picking up to an almost thunderous roar.  A few minutes went by and then our column walked down off the stage and turned left to exit the way we had come in. 

Just before we were excused, the National Anthem started.  Everyone stood and faced the flag which was in the center of the room.  All voices could be heard singing as one. When the music and song began to end I saw this image and took the shot. 


Doug said...

Thank you Bill - and thank you to others who have served our country in the past as well as those enlisted now.

Billy Fehr said...

Don't mention it. My other option was college which seemed way harder than the Marine Corps. I simply took the easy way out. Or, is it in?

TheMutt said...

From one veteran to another...thanks for your service. Great post today for sure.