Sunday, November 4, 2007

Straight Strong Soldiers

Friday night as Mark and I went out to WalMart (our favorite Friday night hotspot) we had to divert our drive to avoid traffic at White Knoll High School. There were three events going on: the school was playing their biggest rival in football; Senator John McCain was in attendance; and they were dedicating their new field house to one of their alumni who was killed in Iraq in 2005, Joshua Torrence.

While we were gone, Rose told us that they had flyovers about every 20 minutes by F-16's in the missing-man formation. I so wish I hadn't gone to the store.

The children and I were at this young man's funeral procession through Lexington. Prior to the procession, a man in a suit handed me flags for the children. As the caisson was going down the road, with the limousine behind, I remember the catching the mother's eye. I wanted so much to mouth "Thank You" to her, but I didn't think it would be enough from a stranger. So I put my arms around my kids and tried to communicate something with my face. I'll never forget it.

As we were driving to church today, there was something going on at the National Guard Armory. Before church they were assembling, and by the time we were returning home, there were about 150 soldiers standing at attention.

I took this opportunity to explain to Max how I want him to behave as an altar boy. I've been struggling with his behavior during the processions. He carries a little cross and leads the rest of the acolytes. His problem is not in the leading, but rather in the standing. If he thinks he's doing a particularly good job, he'll toss me a thumbs-up or a wink. He might play with the cross, try to balance it in the opening of his sticharion, put it in his pocket--or any number of innocent but horrifying tricks--including dropping it.

We've practiced and practiced. I have constantly told him he needs to stand like a "straight strong soldier." As we were passing the armory today I told him that this is how he should stand. Max seemed thoughtful. So I added that the cross he carries in the procession is the mightiest weapon in the world. That it can defeat armies.

That if you're carrying it you need to do it like one of those soldiers.