Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: moving forward

The year has started off under something of a cloud with 8 Field's (Edmonton predecessor to the Alberta-wide 41 CER) first death in theatre to any current member's recollection. On New Year's Day a number of guys from the unit visited George's mother and said that it was the most difficult experience in their military careers. In the evening guys came here to the house to polish George's boots. For hours. Gorecki will take them with him when goes to Trenton with the CO to repatriate the body. When one considers the origins of the injured as well, December 30 may have been Alberta's worst day in Afghanistan.

Not all of the guys were on the best of terms with George but the few who had a falling out with him at one point or another have, if anything, been doing the most to ensure that his memory is preserved and his long service honoured. If there was any one thing that suggests the mentality of the military man to me, I think it may be this way in which a sense of solidarity with one's brothers in arms comes so automatically as a natural priority. That and the job focus. I could see how some observers might think more emotion should be expressed by unit members, but the reality is that the soldiers accept the ultimate sacrifice as something that comes with the territory. A combat zone is not a horror free area, and when they happen people are expected to continue to do their jobs. Men who are extremely sensitive are generally not the dominant type in the armed forces. That does not mean that events like the New Year's Day meeting with the family were not agonizing to all involved.

George would have wanted the guys to have a good time on New Year's Eve and a real effort was made on that count. DJ Earworm, who does a mashup of the top 25 American pop songs every year, did a good job with 2009, packing two dozen different tracks together into a theme of getting back up when down, and I'm sure the mix was popular at a lot of New Year's Eves.

I thought 2009 was going to be the year I ended up more settled but that didn't end up being the case. The year ended with me alive and kicking so by that metric it was a good year.

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