Above: “They carried the sky. The whole atmosphere, they carried it, the humidity, the monsoons, the stink of fungus and decay, all of it, they carried gravity…They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.” — Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried
Today, a short missive on an important day here in the United States: Veterans Day.
Observed annually on November 11th, Veterans Day is a federal holiday that honors all those brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces.
A sincere, heartfelt thank you to those readers of White Noise who have served. Your willingness to shed blood, sweat, and tears, to lose life and limb, for the sacred idea that is America attests to your integrity and honor. God bless you; you are truly the finest that this nation has to offer.
For a taste of the immense courage these men and women boast, I invite you to read, marvel at, and reflect upon U.S. Marine Kyle Carpenter’s selfless sacrifice:
Though everyone’s suffering is sacred, not all suffering stands out.
Kyle Carpenter’s certainly does.
His actions and selflessness provide a tremendous real-world example. The youngest living Medal of Honor recipient, a man who dove on a live grenade in order to shield his fellow Marine from its deadly blast, he believes, “It’s the deepest, darkest, lowest moments in life that teach us the most beautiful lessons.”
While Carpenter’s extensive wounds, myriad surgeries, and grueling rehabilitation represent the far extreme of suffering, his indomitable will should inspire us. Here is a man who sliced through countless volatile, choppy waves with a focused vim and vigor; one who stood on his own two feet, tensed his weary calves, thighs, and knees, and propelled himself through the maelstrom to arrive at tranquil waters off which the sun glints and glistens.
Carpenter allowed misfortune and the trials of the world to hit him with their best shots. They tore at his skin, but not at his will. He stood firm.
His is the perfect example of patience, poise, and fortitude in the face of pain and suffering.
So, say thank you today, tomorrow, indeed whenever you get the chance.
After all, your very ability to think, to breathe—even to say thank you—rests upon a societal foundation built and preserved by their courage and sacrifice. Twenty-four hours is a pittance in the face of so generous an outlay. Per Churchill, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.”
I leave you with the sage words of Ronald Reagan: “Veterans know better than anyone else the price of freedom, for they’ve suffered the scars of war. We can offer them no better tribute than to protect what they have won for us.”
God bless you, God bless these United States, and God bless the world over.
Per my about page, White Noise is a work of experimentation. I view it as a sort of thinking aloud, a stress testing of my nascent ideas. Through it, I hope to sharpen my opinions against the whetstone of other people’s feedback, commentary, and input.
If you want to discuss any of the ideas or musings mentioned above or have any books, papers, or links that you think would be interesting to share on a future edition of White Noise, please reach out to me by replying to this email or following me on Twitter.
With sincere gratitude,