Cider Press Hill

Leaving

Saturday, 6:42 am

By Kate

Sep

10

2005

sunny

This morning, on the way over to the bake sale, I passed a house with two large trees out in front. Around each tree were hundreds of ribbons, with bouquets of flowers surrounding the trees, at least 8 layers deep. The lad was with me and he said, “That must be where the soldier lived who died in Iraq.”

One of our young local men was killed in Iraq very recently. His funeral was yesterday and, according to the lad, his funeral procession passed along the main street in town and it was lined with people paying their last respects. For reasons that I’m not entirely sure of, the high school requested that the junior and senior classes turn out for the street lining, as well. The young man who died wasn’t a very recent graduate, I’d guess, since he was a graduate of West Point. But I think it was the right thing to do.

Between the lad’s description of the procession and the view of the hundreds of bouquets of flowers in the family’s front lawn, I was hard pressed not to cry. It’s too close to home, I guess.

And then, in a soft voice, the lad said, “You know what else? Gillian’s dad was called up, too. He’s leaving this weekend.”

Oh man, that did it for me. Gillian is a good friend and the lad’s first prom date. They run together a lot and her dad is the backbone of the cross country team. He’s such a cool guy. Just loves the kids to pieces and has never missed a meet. Not ever. He’s going to go to Iraq now. To fight. I can’t imagine it. No, I can’t imagine it. Nor can his family. He’s not exactly a young man. It’s seems absurd and surreal. But it is real. He’s leaving.

“After yesterday, I really don’t like George Bush,” the lad said.

Not that I’d had much doubt of that before, but it’s personal now. And my heart breaks for all of them.