Nobody ever asks me what really sustained me while I was in Iraq. I figure that’s because my friends and family know I’m just so tough. But the truth is I had moments (sometimes so long that you might call them days) of despair, no different than anyone that has visited the sandbox. I argued the war was unconstitutional. I argued that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. I argued that no one, no military, no amount of anything is ever going to quell the unrest in the middle east. I argued that the thinking that it’s fight them over there or over here is flawed because they don’t have ships to get people across the ocean. I went to some dark places, of that there is no doubt. But, like nearly everyone, I found my strength. I found my hope.
Want to know what I would use to lift me out of despair? The Rocky Mountains. That’s right. Ski resorts in particular. I told myself that if someone made the argument that if we don’t go to Iraq and do what we were doing, then the bad guys would come here, eventually making their way to the ski resorts where they would mess everything up. (And don’t kid yourself, they would ruin them). So to prevent that from happening I would stare despair in the face and happily do my duty. I would wake up before my alarm went off. I would hold my head a little higher. I would focus a little sharper. Mess with the Rockies? Not if I had anything to do with it. There is nothing like them and no replacing them. I can hardly hear the word America without seeing the flag draped against a backdrop of the purple mountain’s majesty. When I see America on a globe, I notice most the bumpy yellow and orange band about three-fourths of the way to the left of the Atlantic.
This is on my mind, because I’m going skiing with my brother this weekend (and a good friend that is currently a company commander in the Marines). And I tell myself that I, me, played at least small part in keeping the mountains open. And that makes me smile.