The name was once conceptual. It was a name from a list, one all but forgotten, from a time beyond anyone’s living memory. The name is beyond anyone’s emotional response and firsthand experience. Choosing a name of recent memory often brought a barrage of harassment. The pain of a name such as those expressed in blinding rage. The name was undeserving of your utterance.
How sad to know the name of the all-but-forgotten would quickly be replaced. They would quickly be replaced by names of your firsthand memory. They would be undeserving of the newly indoctrinated to utter. If it was, the response would be blind rage. How dare they utter the name of your friend, of those sacrificed before YOUR eyes! How fucking dare they. What did they know?! What did that name mean to them beyond a name picked from a piece of paper?! What did they know of their story?! Of their sacrifice?! What the fuck did they know?!
How sad to know they would quickly understand… how quickly we all understood. How quickly we often understood many times over. To have added name after name to the tin graveyard. To have to choose from those names when asked who yours is.
Residing in the front leaning rest, repetitions completed, homage must be rendered… “ONE FOR THE AIRBORNE RANGER IN THE SKY…”
Those forged in war need not some vague platitude of the newly indoctrinated. They utter not the platitude but the name… the names… with every push, they pay homage to friends, to family, to warriors sacrificed.
Jake Smith is a law enforcement officer and former Army Ranger with four deployments to Afghanistan.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.