Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 07/09/07 at 09:22 AM ET
Editorial note: it’s rare, but sometimes I do stray into worlds that don’t necessarily include hockey. In those instances, the word “perspective” will typically be in the subject of the post. If the subject matter offends you, feel free to say so. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Perspective? Yes. I’ve got a little for you. Back in the states after a short trip to The Cradle and I’ve returned to find a team that is Smyth-less, improved, yet largely the same. Schneider’s gone, so is Bertuzzi. Rafalski’s here and Hasek is back. The blue line is better, but offensively there are questions. The Groin that wasn’t an issue will most likely become a story by Christmas and there is at least one more UFA out there waiting to head to Hockeytown.
All those issues were on my mind, but I was distracted. For instance on the 4th of July I stood on a balcony in one of Saddam’s former palaces and watched nearly six hundred servicemembers re-enlist, the largest mass re-up in history. While their countrymen on the left and right (a great majority of whom have never set foot in Iraq) continue to sling arrows at one another over whether our presence there is just, the warriors who actually live and fight there made the biggest statement of all. Given a choice between going home or staying there to finish a job they believe in, they raised their right hands again.
Oh, and later that night at a camp far from Baghdad and the consistent rolling of cameras? A twenty-year old Sailor, far from any ship or ocean, raised the American flag as she does every evening. Why at night, instead of each morning? Because nothing makes a bigger target in bright sunlight then the national ensign. Political reasons play a role in that too. She’s not real concerned with that though. So as each sun sets, there she is raising the flag again. No one tells her to and no one stops her. She hoists it at taps, lowers it at reveille and another day begins.
A few days before that, we met about thirty Sailors stationed on an oil platform in the Arabian Gulf. In nearly twenty years, I’ve never seen a group of men and women living and working in tougher conditions. You don’t know heat until you stand on that platform and look out in every direction at “fishing boats”, not certain which one is going to make a run at you with less than innocent intentions. So, because you’re a visitor and you know that in a few days you’ll be headed back stateside while these Americans remain there, you pull one of these “kids” aside and you ask, what can we do for you? What do you need? You almost expect a response like, “how about getting us out of here?”
Instead, here’s what he said. “We’ve been talking about a ping pong table. Think you can score us one of them?”
Keep arguing America. Keep debating and wringing your hands. But as you do, remember this: the men and women who are actually over there, actually donning the 80 pounds of body armor every day, actually shouldering the weapons and taking the risks? They believe in what they’re doing. They’re re-enlisting and raising flags, and doing their jobs every day because it’s what they believe is right.
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About Abel to Yzerman
Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977. No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y. Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation. There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature. Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org