Along the bumpy path, a Dad stumbles upon brief, sunlit clearings in which it is right to look to the sunny sky and feel satisfaction’s warmth. The soldier on the right is my son, a soldier among four soldiers that have surprised us in this generation. He stands with a college buddy at my son’s graduation from the U.S. Army’s Pathfinder School.
I have traced my son’s path from my remote, paternal distance through Ranger School, Sapper School, Air Assault School, and any number of grueling competitions. He did not get his uncommonly strong body, his boyish verve, his nest of devoted friends, his quietly solid leadership from me. Maybe
I tossed some persistence his way.
The rest is a marvel.
One does not have to be a soldier’s father (though, admittedly, it helps) to wonder at such uniformed men and women. In a world breaking apart and a nation with its heart seemingly carved out of its chest, our military is served by soldiers, sailors, and airmen who on any given day look very much like the cream of their generation.
Not a month ago, seven army officers crashed in our very civilian home for a weekend in order to attend a friend’s wedding. They were unfailingly polite, interested, intelligent, deferential, and kind.
It grows ever more important, in these darkening days, to give thanks without needless sentimentality for ‘the things that remain’. The character and competence of my Army Captain son and his college buddy—to say nothing of so many others like them—swing easily into view when thanksgiving is in the air.