Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guarding the streets of heaven

Not everyone has angels. Those who do have paid the price.

They pay the price of loss. They pay the price of pain.

They pay the price of bereavement.

I write this on May 1, 2011. Tonight, Osama bin Laden is dead.
The celebration can be somber, or not. There are jokes about Donald Trump. (“He won’t believe Osama bin Laden is dead until he sees the death certificate.”) There are jokes about President Obama. There are jokes about bin Laden.

There are phone calls and tweets, posts and emails. Crowds have spontaneously gathered outside the White House and in New York’s Times Square.

President Obama has spoken. He wants continued relations with Pakistan and this is in our nation’s interest, even though Osama bin Laden was holed up there, even though U.S. aid to Pakistan is in the billions.

The celebrations continue, despite the possibility of retribution.

The celebrations continue because 9/11 cut us to the core.

If you live with angels — and not everyone does — they like to remind you about life before Sept. 11, 2001.

Before Sept. 11, Todd Bryant was alive, J.P. Blecksmith was alive, cancer had not yet struck our son, and our son's company mate, Cnossen, still had both his legs.

A young Army wife named Cassidhe was not yet a widow. Chris Petersen's future brother-in-law, James Boelke, was still alive.

These words may sound harsh, but shattered dreams are the price of war, the price of living with angels, along with the need to reflect on those happy days before Sept. 11.

The day before, on Sept. 10, 2001, we were at the Naval Academy. The skies were clear blue. I had never seen such blue skies. We were tourists in the imaginary land of peace.

The illusion of peace is sweeter than honey, softer than rain and brighter than rainbows, like a dream you forget the next morning.

Mornings are not so good, even though Osama bin Laden is dead, and despite the presence of angels.

Not everyone has angels. But despite the price, it’s not so bad living with an angel or two. They pave the way. They give you strength.

The road is steep. There’s no turning back.

May God bless our troops, those who have served and those who still suffer from their wounds.

God bless those who guard the streets of heaven, waiting for us.

Guarding the streets of heaven - LA Canada

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