Thursday, July 3, 2014

What they couldn't see

The band Vertical Horizon and actress Christina Moore visited us in Kandahar, Afghanistan for our Fourth of July celebration.  Yes, you know their music.  Yes you know her from that ‘70s Show, and more importantly in my house, as the mom on Disney’s “Jessie”.  They were awesome.  Troops can be a tough crowd, but they can’t help but respond when entertainers give it their all just for them.

Let me be clear.  I’m neither musical nor talented.  Asking me to sing or read a note of music is akin to asking me to taste how purple smells.  I just don’t “get it”.  Tonight, for some reason, I did.  In fact, I think I saw things that even these professional entertainers didn’t see…

Ms. Moore merely had to walk in to the dining facility.  The murmuring was immediate.  “That’s no contractor!”  “Dude…can you SMELL her?  That’s better than bacon.”  The troops she spoke to in the coffee line smiled all the way back to their table of buddies and told lies about how she winked at them.  She was, for the moment, the embodiment of the women they love and are striving to get home to. 

When the band took the stage and started their set, all they could see were a few thousand troops slowly loosening up.  What they couldn’t see were the nurses from our ROLE 3 Trauma unit, who just a few days ago fought to save a Soldier and lost.  They were smiling and singing along.  Soldiers who had carried and saluted 5 brothers as they were loaded on a plane for the final trip home, were laughing and making fun of each other’s singing.  Troops who will go out tomorrow and face death, were enjoying every moment of life as they sang along.  A few thousand troops from several nations got to pull out just a little of that humanity that is stowed away for safety when entering a combat zone.  Prosecutors facing fiscal law questions…well, nevermind.

Those are the things that I wish they could see.  At a time when some “acts” have cancelled because the Army can’t pay them enough or in the way they prefer, Vertical Horizon and Ms. Moore showed up.  They thought they were just giving of their time and talent.  In reality, they were “exactly the right thing at exactly the right time.”