SO IT GOES FORWARD |
August 31, 2007
SO IT GOES FORWARD
Name: American Soldier
Posting date: 8/31/07
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url: soldierlife.com
I sat in the terminal waiting for my flight to be called, my wife and I
enjoying our last moments together. I remember them clearly and all the emotions
involved. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Across from us was a
couple the same age as us, holding each other's hands and enjoying the moment.
For me it was getting ready to leave my life forever. For them it was an overdue vacation. He had returned from the war earlier that year and he and his wife
were going home to family. He asked me if I was coming or going. I told him I
was going, a common phrase that is often shared when traveling. Sort of like the
nod you get when you know someone else is a soldier. The quiet respectful
We got to talking and it wasn’t very long before we started to share
similar interests and commonalities. If I wasn’t leaving I would have befriended
this couple. At one point he reached into his wallet and pulled out a four leaf
clover. It was laminated but the exterior had a worn look. He told me he got
it from another soldier before he left for Iraq the year before. He wanted to
give it to me, and said that sometimes luck is all you’ll ever have. I gladly
accepted and thanked him. The time was drawing to an end, so my wife and I spent
those precious moments by ourselves. When it was time to go I thanked him again
and shook his hand. The rest of that story is for another time.
Fast forward to last week, and I was sitting in the same airport, terminal and
row of seats. A soldier who had that fresh-from-Iraq tan came and sat
down next to me. He was quiet and was just looking at the ground. Some folks
looked on and went about their business, reading their papers, etc. Some people
looked at him, trying to not catch his attention. A few minutes had gone by and I
turned to him and asked if he was coming or going. He looked at me and said he
was heading back. Fresh off his two week leave, he was heading to his unit to
finish his duty.
We exchanged small talk, just two soldiers talking about
nothing really. I was on my way out on business. The time was drawing near and
my plane was ready to go. I reached in my wallet to check if I had some cash or
if I needed to hit the ATM. The edge of the laminate that held the four leaf
clover scratched my finger. I looked at it and smiled for a moment. The memory
of that day all came back in an instant.
I pulled it out and looked to the
soldier and told him that I was given this last year, before I left for Iraq, and
that I made it back despite being wounded. Sometimes luck is all I ever relied
on over there. I told him that I would like him to have it and said that this
would be at least the third trip for this clover. He gladly accepted it.
The call came for my plane to board and I stood up and shook his hand. I smiled and shook my head slightly. He smiled back and understood. I grabbed my bag and headed off.
Wherever that soldier is tonight I hope that I in some way I have brought him some luck and that clover continues to make its way into other soldiers' hands. Paying it forward is always better than simply paying it back.