I spent much of last week thinking about Adam Davis (see previous post) after the e-mail Fred sent, and since I did not know Adam but I do know Fred--albeit not terribly well--I thought about him too.
I do not know if Fred used the term "cousin" literally or figuratively. I do know that Fred has a son Adam's age. That he knew Adam. And I can guess that he most likely saw something of his son in the other young man.
Fred is in Iraq right now, and has been in Afghanistan in the past. He's doing the job he's been doing for the past two decades and then some. He has seen those he was with die, and he has risked his own life, and is doing so now, and if he's bitching to someone about it (which I doubt), it's not me.
That, boys and girls, is what it means to be a man. Not chaining yourself to a tree, not driving your SUV up onto the sidewalk so you don't have to carry your kiddie pool as far. He's far from the only guy who's done this. Some men have died. Other men have carried on. Some have left pieces of themselves behind, both visible pieces and ones impossible to see. And still, they have carried on. They have come home, and some have gone back, and others have had to relearn what it is to be a civilian. And still, they have carried on.
And I am fucking in awe of that, just so you know.