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peak:

I've written an entry.


valley:

Because Mother Nature can't make up her mind as to whether she wants summer, fall or winter... I think I'm getting sick.


noise:

Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue... and my A/C rattling. (Not exactly the perfect match.)


sustenance:

Ham sandwich.


thoughts:

I want to get some nasal congestion drugs... but they rarely work... so why waste the money?


365:

(Oct. 23, 2000)
Me & my evil temper.


tuesday, october 23rd

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Quote Du Jour:
"Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions." - (David Borenstein)

After turning off and resetting the alarm three or four times, I finally woke up about noon Sunday. I was worn out (but not hungover) from a Halloween party that began the night before and had lasted into the wee hours of the morning. On a normal Sunday afternoon, I would have sat around watching football and wasting time online only to later wonder where the day went. This week, however, I took a drive.

I met up with Jessie in Smallville, ate a little of mom's home cooking for a late lunch and we headed out. By the time the sun was sinking in the western sky, Jessie and I were on the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock.

Sunday evenings are usually a little bit gray for me. Perhaps it's the thoughts of the things I didn't accomplish during my two-day reprieve from school. Or maybe it's the thoughts of Monday looming on the horizon and the thoughts of all of the things I have to do in the upcoming week. Regardless, this Sunday was as exception to the rule. It was different from the rest in where I was, who I was with, how it felt to me and what I was doing.

I was in Little Rock to witness the state's tribute to men and women in uniform -- the military, law enforcement, emergency medical services and the fire service. The governor's office sponsored the shindig, which was complete with musical performers, speeches and the promise of the largest display of fireworks ever seen in the state. Anyone who knows me well knows that this event was practically tailored for me.

There are lots of things I'd like to tell you about. Sitting here in front of a computer two days after the fact, though, I'm not really sure what to say or, especially, how to say it. I'd like to paint for you the pictures of what I saw... And would love to express the things I felt during the day... And do so in some poetic, Diarist Award-winning way. I'm having trouble with that, though. But I think that's okay. It's probably the way it should be. Some things in life just don't fit well into words. Some things are better experienced than written about.


With the above said, I will pass on one anecdote from the day simply because of its importance to me. At one time during the event, the governor recognized each of the branches of the armed services and each of the arms of the emergency services.

The governor asked that members of each branch of the military stand while the service song for that branch was played. The Little Rock metro area is home to an air force base and the USAF was well represented on the riverfront. An airman sitting to my right stood up during the playing of the Air Force Song and a man walked up to shake his hands. I heard the words exchanged between the man and the airman, but they didn't stick with me. That wasn't the case when a woman approached the airman shortly after he sat back down.

After asking if he was with the air national guard or with the "real thing," the woman uttered seven simple words in a very sincere tone... "God bless you, son. We appreciate you."

More than any patriotic song I've heard in the last month... More than the fireworks... More than the flag waving... More than knowing how proud I am to be an American... Those seven words hit me in a very special way. My face felt flushed. I felt the tingle in my eyes that usually precedes tears. I turned away from the exchange I'd watched between the airman and the woman. I looked over the crowd that sat in front of and around me. I blinked a few times. I sat there among thousands, but I felt like I was the only one there. No tears came, but strong emotions did.

In that moment, the crisis my country is in wasn't something in a far off land. It wasn't anthrax on the east coast. It wasn't CNN Breaking News reports. It was real. It was human. It was three feet from me.

Some things in life just don't fit well into words. Some things are better experienced than written about. I can think of few examples better than this. I can't take you back in time to that moment and I can't explain exactly how I felt or why I felt it. I'm left to savor it all forever in my mind. I'm left to summarize it by saying that those few seconds on a hill in Little Rock's Riverfront Park were among the most powerful I've ever experienced. I'm left to hope you understand.

copyright © 2001, Thomas Fletcher. all rights reserved.