"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."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

'One of the best'

Apologies for the hiatus, I've been immersed in the arts of FACdom at TACP school pretty deeply, surfacing only to jaunt out east for 30 hours to run a marathon and then come back home for more FACdom. I was on the verge of shooting out some quick thoughts on Afghanistan when things there took a tragic turn yesterday.

"One of the best". That certainly describes Capt Kyle Van De Giesen, who was killed in action two days ago in a helicopter collision. He graduated a year ahead of me from St. A's, and was one of the first people I encountered on my own road to the Marine Corps. Since it's a small Corps and we were both helicopter pilots, we crossed paths occasionally after both of us graduated, and I remember that each time, he always exuded the utmost enthusiasm for his job. I think he was one of those Marines who completely loved what he was doing and wouldn't have traded it for anything else. Of all people, he surely deserved to finish his tour and go home to his wife and kids. It was gut-wrenching to learn that he was within a week of doing so, and doing so in time to see the birth of his second child, when his aircraft went down. I hope you'll all spare a moment and a prayer for his family who are now planning a funeral instead of a homecoming.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

A fine leader, Marine, and American, taken from us at 29. Requiescat in pace and semper fidelis.

1 comment:

Winefred said...

So very sorry to hear that one of these deaths, the kind that make me cringe more than any others, was that of your friend. I will keep him in my prayers, as I still do your friend Jared, and let us know if at any time you hear that his family is in need.