Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Veteran's Day 2009
The date is much on my mind this year. Perhaps it's because a possible escalation of the war in Afghanistan looms so large, perhaps it's because of the elegies for those killed at Ft. Hood. Perhaps it's because of a friend's moving Veteran's Day reflection, "A Brief Visit from My Soldier Son."
Last week by chance I saw the USS New York arrive in its namesake city's harbor, with a splendid escort of fire boats shooting plumes of red, white, and blue water into the air and innumerable smaller craft trailing behind. There were knots of people along the shore waving signs of welcome and other random gawpers too.
Later, when the New York was docked in a place of honor next to the Intrepid, a WW2 aircraft carrier turned floating museum, I snapped this photo. The museum boasts many curiosities, including the Concorde visible between the two ships. The New York looks curious to my eyes – its superstructure is very smooth and it has fore and aft helicopter decks. The ship contains steel salvaged from the World Trade Center and is going to war.
That's a solemn thought on this gloomy day. Yet it seems stubbornly hopeful to me that September 11 is followed by November 11, originally Armistice Day, the day the guns fell silent. If armed conflict should prove to be the considered foreign policy of my country, then it's my hope that proportionate retaliation can be – indeed, will be – succeeded by just peace.