Heroes in Reality.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Drove to DC on the final Sunday of Winter while listening to the NCAA basketball tournament. Pleasant as usual up I-85 and then the stunning, whipsawing traffic from Petersburg to Quantico for over three hours for no apparent reason except for the large quantity of cars on the same highway at the same time. Sixty miles per hour for a few minutes and then 6 mph for a few more. In frustration, I wondered if this flow and ebb is a metaphor for our governmental process.

Our journey’s purpose was the graduation of a family friend from the FBI Academy. Among his prior successes was qualification as a Navy SEAL – are there other kinds of SEALS?- with two tours in Iraq. Joining the ceremony were his former commanding officer and his platoon Chief Petty Officer. Typical SEALS as both the CO and the Chief drove over five hours each way to witness this ceremony of a former comrade (he left the SEALS two years ago) and permanent shipmate. The Chief Petty Officer is a hero to the now FBI agent as he received twenty seven (twenty + seven) gunshot wounds on one patrol in Iraq. The firefight in a small, dark room shattered his rifle without killing him. If you say, “that’s hard to believe?!”, he replies, “I can’t believe it and I was there.”

The forty-nine newly appointed FBI agents will be based in large city offices around the country. As they accepted their badges on stage, we were informed that the Bureau has a dress code, a remnant of the Hoover era, dark suits and white shirts. As the guest speaker described the challenging firearm training course and the danger of their jobs, we wondered what the SEALs thought. And as you might expect, they praised the agents for having to respect every law in the prosecution of their responsibilities as the SEALs are called in when nearly every law has failed.

In a period where the government of the people is fair game, even for the people of the government, the sight, confidence and commitment to purpose expressed by so many and so many different types of warriors inspires one older to imitate those younger.