Monday, December 11, 2006

Oklahoma Air National Guard

George is from New Jersey. I referred to him once before in this journal … the *Karaoke Hell Yeah* post. Nothing remarkable about George, other than him being a thoroughly nice guy who has made settling into life here easier than it may otherwise have been; except to mention that he is a Karaoke KJ.

Of late, George (The Jersey Devil) and I (Steve the Limey) have been running private parties together. Last night we entertained the Oklahoma Air National Guard at their Christmas Party. The party was held in the Mess Hall on the airbase, just north of here.

These guys … and girls, work hard, and party hard. From the Colonel in the afro wig and flares, to Tammy, the sergeant who organized the bash, all had a great time. And well they should. These young people, some barely out of High School have served tours of duty in Iraq recently, and many are soon to return there.

Quite regardless of the rights and wrongs of the situation in the Middle East, the young airmen and women cheerfully pack up and fly 8000 miles to endure who knows what. Most return home intact. Some don’t. None of them knows when they leave what the future holds, and for a few it will be dire. I guess all of them miss their Moms.

Whatever, they go, they do our dirty work, and they come home again and party … at least on the outside.

I found myself looking around at all the very young, smiling faces, and wondered how many wouldn’t be alive to sing at next year’s party. I hope they all will, but hope doesn’t provide body armour. Hope doesn’t stop the shooting. Hope will not bring these people back to their families. But hope is all I have.

Hope that sense returns.
Hope that sanity prevails.
Hope that the bullets miss … on both sides.
Hope that those who send these troops to fight are wise, and caring.
Very little hope on that last point.

As I looked around the hall, and felt close to the soldiers who just do their jobs as best they can, I didn’t feel any less British; but I did feel just a little more American.

Come back safe, and see you guys next year.

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