Monday, May 30, 2005

Remembering one friend today

He was a teammate on my High School Track Team. Although he was a year younger than I, his maturity and insight as a Junior impressed me, even though I was the all-wise Senior. He was talented, friendly, intelligent, and a good sprinter. He went to Vietnam and never returned. His name was Garland Jackson.

When I found his name on The Wall in DC, I was amazed at the depth of my emotion, at the level of my remorse. I later recalled how my Dad was moved to tears while visiting the gravesite at the Arlington National Cemetery of a High School buddy who died in World War II. My daughter listened to my story of Garland's name on the wall, and brought back a rubbing of the those engraved letters that spelled his name when she visited The Wall. I still have that rubbing.

I can't say Garland and I were best friends. But somehow, his life influenced mine. And somehow, his death did, also. There are others who died in the line of duty who graduated with me, or who I knew in one way or another, but it is Garland I remember today.

I hope to see him again in Heaven, and thank him. I hope my life has been worthy of his sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of so many others. Yesterday on Sixty Minutes, Andy Rooney remarked that our typical comment for those we remember on Memorial Day, is that "they gave their lives", but in reality, "their lives were taken from them". Garland, you did not deserve to have your life taken from you. God bless you, my friend.


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