They said that the battle lasted over 7 hours. I’ve tried to wrap my brain around how long that must feel when you keep thinking that the cavalry is on its way to the rescue. That’s what happens, right?
The good guys gun-up behind barricades after a fire and fall back sprint while under heavy attack from the bad guys. You know, they’re wearing civvies…civilian clothes… and the bad guys have them pinned down.
They’re out numbered. They know that they can’t possibly last much longer. They do the ammo count and then try to man six directions (N,S,E,W, Up, Down). We were raised knowing that the cavalry is going to make it in time. Why? Because we’re the good guys, right? The good guys never leave their own if there is any chance that goodness, determination and sheer bravery can save them.
That used to be our creed. Sometime ago the story was written just that way. When was it anyway? Was it before or after the Battle of Thermoplyae where King Leonidas was never reinforced but he held his position long enough for the citizenry to be evacuated? Surely it was long before the American western movies anyway.
And it was way before we let four Americans fight for their lives in Benghazi.
It’s Veteran’s Day. I think about my father every day. There is no way to count the number of times that I’ve repeated something that he said or did. In so many ways he was both a mentor as well as a bad example. As adults we are tasked with reconciling it in our own minds and learning from it in our own lives.
King (the Most) Cavalier was 27 when he ‘put down my lunch pail’; left the coal mines of Pennsylvania and joined the Army/Air Corp in 1938. He found a life in the military. He was excited to be transferred for duty to Hickam Field, HI. He was proud to have served and survived the Japanese bombing at Pearl Harbor. He was proud to have served the duration of Word War II in the Pacific theatre.
I’m sure that when he met my mom at the USO in Austin TX he was quite a dashing figure. He taught ballroom dancing, a passion he pursued until his death at 90 in 2000. In between that time he served proudly in Korea during that conflict and again in Vietnam. I was 17 when he came home. Something changed for him.
There were four of us to raise in between TDY’s (temporary duty assignments) and orders overseas in first Germany and then where I spent grade school in Italy on NATO missile commands. The ol’ man never said he was “in the military”. He always said, “I’m a Senior Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force.” In retrospect I think he meant, “you have no idea what I have seen, son.”
But, I know that it changed for him because he not only wouldn’t let me go; he made me understand that he felt that he’d done enough for all of us. Once when I asked about enlisting he said, “How many times have I told you to stay out of fights that you aren’t willing to win?” When he came home he cancelled my appointment with the Congressman from our district to secure a recommendation for me at the Air Force Academy. Yes, something had changed.
He was right.