Conversation at the Urinal

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October 7th 2004
Published: October 7th 2004
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Terminal BTerminal BTerminal B

"Now boarding Zone 3."
"A Conversation Overheard at the Urinal Wall between Two Young Men with Short Haircuts at Hartfield International Airport, Atlanta:

"Hey man, what gate are you leaving from?"


"Yeah? I'm leaving from B19. Hey, do ya wanna grab something to eat?"

"Nah, my flight leaves in, like, 20 minutes."

"Well, I hope we see each other again."

"Same here," Shake. Tuck. Zip. Shake of the other head, "Actually, no. No, I don't want to see you again, because you know where that would be-"

Together they shouted, "Iraq!"
Silently I thought, "Heaven."

So many young men in uniform today. As our plane pulled away from the terminal in Norfolk in the glow of the sunrise, the muzak piped into the cabin was "Anchors Aweigh," a song known by heart to every sailor who sang it as required while marching through the tunnel at Great Lakes Naval Training Facility. For a minute I could feel the cold wind whipping off Lake Michigan and the reek of the diesel fumes from the trucks passing overhead. I'm sure I was not the only sailor on the plane experiencing a moment of deja vu.

Just like the "Great Communicator" and Bill Clinton, George W. Bush does not share with the men and women that he orders off to war the experience of going off to war. Our president has never known the bittersweet hope of never meeting a boot camp buddy in a war zone- dead or alive.


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