Niagara Gazette

Features

November 11, 2012

DELUCA: Taking a break from the mundane to thank the vets

Niagara Gazette — There is a scene in the movie “The Hurt Locker” that I can’t seem to forget.

An American warrior is home from Iraq where he spent much of his time dismantling bombs, struggling to keep delicate wires from touching each other so he and his comrades might live to see another hour. The man, who has razor-sharp intellect and cool demeanor under death-defying pressure, is now home safe in the supermarket scene. But he can’t seem to wrap his mind around the baffling little question of what cereal to buy among the dozens of choices.

The little questions that busy the days of the rest of us seem ridiculous when compared to the decisions he’s made in the war zone. And this was the culture he was offering his life to preserve.

Welcome home. Thanks for your service. Now, pick a cereal if you can.

You know what I think it feels like? The day you are in a wedding, or at a funeral, while the rest of the world continues on its way, getting gas, going shopping or to work. I’ve heard, more than once, about the wonder of people engaged in days of great joy or astounding grief, who report that they marvel at how the rest of us just go on with our lives on such a life-altering day? I’ve felt it myself. You probably have too.

I feel like combat veterans must feel a bit like that when they come home battling against the ravages of war such as post traumatic stress syndrome or the hopeless lure of suicide.

I have written before that I try to remember those who are over in Iraq and Afghanistan, engaged in the deadly battles we sent them to win. But I don’t do as well as I like, joining others in complaints about modern life, too many emails, too much to do. Too many cereals to choose from.

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