Monday, December 21, 2015

Fourth of July - Every Picture Tells a Story

Okay- It's the Fourth of July- Independence Day. I'm not going to lecture you on the Patriotic stuff. Not going to wave the flag at you. I'm going to tell you the story of this photo. And maybe even what it means to me.

The photo itself was taken by Michael held, a friend since departed, in 1974 at Penn Station in NYC. These guys didn't know it at the time, and probably aren't aware of it to this very day- but they are one of many reasons I joined the Service a year or so later.

One of the men shown is a "Lifer". That is someone who enlists and stays in for 35 years or so versus someone who does his 4 years and gets out. You can tell by the "hash" marks sewn on the bottom of his sleeve. He is the one smiling and shaking my hand. Vietnam had ceased the year before and these guys were returning home from overseas due to the winding down of the military at the time. Mike and I were in Manhattan that day to get concert tickets, get stoned and just generally play around.

Now in all of Penn Station you would have been hard pressed to find two more divergent looking groups of people. Naturally they were staring at us and vice versa.This led to some good natured bantering along the lines of "Why don't you get a haircut?" to "What have you been doing while we fought for your freedom?"  Our replies were along the lines of- "We just had one" to "Dating your wives."

Now the point of all this is that this photo, to me, represents the America I love and one that has become increasingly rare. One in which we don't have to agree on everything to get along. We just have to get along. The Powers That Be would love to keep us polarized- but it's up to each one of us, as individuals, to back off a bit- tone it down a notch and learn to tolerate one another again. Just like the photo.

We're all different, but really one and the same. E Pluribus Unum. Happy Fourth everyone! Happy Birthday America! And hell, here's that flag...

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