If You Only Read Newspapers

By lex, on December 2nd, 2009

You’d never have learned about this:

The  temperature is rising already.  Nobody  cares.  “10:36 hours: The clapping starts  at the E-Ring.  That is the outermost of  the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest  to the entrance to the building.  This  clapping is low, sustained, hearty.  It is  applause with a deep emotion behind it as it  moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

“A  steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at  the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who  marks the forward edge with his presence.   He is the first. He is missing the greater part  of one leg, and some of his wounds are still  suppurating.  By his age I expect that he  is a private, or perhaps a private first  class.

“Captains,  majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet  his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to  soldier.  Three years ago when I described  one of these events, those lining the hallways  were somewhat different.  The applause a  little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not  having shared in the burden …  yet.

“Now  almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the  man in the wheelchair, also a combat  veteran.  This steadies the applause, but I  think deepens the sentiment.  We have all  been there now.  The soldier’s chair is  pushed by, I believe, a full  colonel.

“Behind  him, and stretching the length from Rings E to  A, come more of his peers, each private,  corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a  field grade officer.

Every Friday for four years.

 

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Filed under Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Lex, Neptunus Lex

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