Academic journal article Military Review

Going Home

Academic journal article Military Review

Going Home

Article excerpt

I'm wearing my Class A uniform, waiting on flight number 4505.

The plane will pick me up in New York and deposit me in Philadelphia, where

I will meet an old Army friend; together we'll travel to a special ceremony.

My polyester uniform does not breathe well; on a long trip

I begin to offend those around me.

The tie chokes me: like a man noosed for execution.

My luggage strap tears at my ribbons, scattering them on the dirty floor.

I am choking.

As I make my way to Gate 28, a vet from The Greatest Generation walks up to me.

He and his wife would like to buy me lunch.

I thank the man for serving our country and add that it is I who should buy him lunch,

Then remember: I am waiting for Dave to come home from Iraq.

The old vet nods understandingly, we look into each other's eyes, shake hands, and

I disappear to be alone.

While I sit in the empty gate (I am early) CNN reports that a suicide bomb went off in Tal-Afar.

Tal-Afar is near Mosul, where Dave was stationed.

I think, "These are the times to say 'I'm sorry' to those who matter most."

I wait for Dave in silence.

My only companions are a tired stewardess and CNN-broadcasting to no one.

A woman in a two-piece suit comes up to me. …

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