The Rains

Last night it came like a torrent of blessings – rain. We’ve had none of any real use in months. It was such a queer sound that we rose and looked out the door to ensure it was what we thought…

Today, it continues as the sky retains that winter-like bright grey shade. Trooper is in town performing his Honor Guard duties and I am watching the roses flicker with the heavy drops.

The weather suits the day, one of remembrance. Ed posts a proper vid and sentiment. The scenes instantly reminded me of that day. I was in an office in Atlanta – one of the large towers there – and everyone hovered over their screens, watching the proceedings. In the later days, our company would be intensely involved in the process, setting up a command post to disseminate information. It later evolved into a now-popular service. They would also move to a new location of only 4 stories.

But in that moment I watched and knew that it was time for a mental inventory and plan. The office refused to close at first but no few were leaving anyway, not wishing to remain in a 40+ story building in a major city. I remained perhaps a bit too long as I watched the freeways become snarled with traffic from my elevated vantage point. It was then I decided to wait. No use wasting gas in a traffic jam that would, in an hour or so, thin out. And so it did. Downtown was still awash with the confused and emotionally concussed. I took a slight detour to avoid much of it, then settled in for the ride home, everyones headlamps on in the smallest of courtesies to the dead.

I’d been fortunate – I was never one to drive without enough gas to get away. And I had my reliable bug-out box in the back – though it was, then, more of an “emergency kit”. Still, I was glad to have the old boots, camo pants, sterno, and MREs. I’d envisioned a long walk westward, of how there was at least a deep treeline much of the way. Such thoughts were so intense that I can recall them today.

Once home, the news was on every channel and I watched the horrific scenes over and over, hoping to glean something more. In the end, of course, there was nothing to be said. Billy Beck always quotes from Baron Manfred von Richthofen and it was never more apt, “Find the enemy and shoot him down. Anything else is nonsense.” And yet…

Even today we are surrounded by flags in our little town as we honor the news of a man lost in Afghanistan. All those years, men, women, and limbs…all that gone because we would not do as the good Baron advised but, instead, tried to hold a war with rules the enemy ignores.

All those good people lost on this day – do they feel vindicated? One has to wonder. And my inner theory grows more sound every day: there is a subtle Capitol Hill desire to lose as many fine men, skilled fighters, as possible. Wear them to a nub and never bring them home. Not until the chessboard is set…

It would be a terrible epitaph, would it not?

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