"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Monday, January 14, 2008


Well, here I sit on another cold, quiet night, standing (actually, sitting) at duty with only the faint howl of a frost-bitten western wind outside to keep me company. It's not a bad night, however, as a couple of days ago a great weight was lifted from my shoulders: I passed my final aircraft commander check flight and thus, once the paperwork is done, I will be able to sign my name as the commander of one of the steel beasts sitting outside. That day probably won't come until I get off the night shift, but I'm not so worried about that because, at least for now, the games are over. Of course, with every ending comes a new beginning; before I was a senior co-pilot, at the top of my pile; now I'm the most junior HAC in the squadron, and at the bottom of a new pile. But that's the way it is in the Marine Corps: no matter who you are, there's always someone on top. Girard, get your mind out of the gutter.

It's also not a bad night, because I received a DVD of Gerry D in the mail from my folks. For those who aren't familiar with Gerry, he's appeared on a couple of seasons of Last Comic Standing (made it to the final three in the most recent one) and has a pretty wide following on the Canadian stand-up circuit. Before his comic career, though, he was a teacher at my high school for many years, a job which gave him a lot of the material for his routine. I put the DVD on tonight, and let me tell you, it takes a pretty good comic to reduce a room full of Marines to tears of laughter. Thanks for making our night a little better, Gerry.


Katie said...

Congratulations on passing your flight test!! Hope all is going well for you over there, we miss you here!

Cincinnatus said...

Thanks! It's a big load off my shoulders, though it's more a beginning than an ending, since actually being responsible for that flying piece of iron will be a pretty hefty load by itself. It was great to talk to you guys on New Year's, perhaps we should a Guitar Hero joust upon my return...