Buckle Up for War
The first thing that you do when you get to your seat on an airplane is remove the clunky steel shackle of a buckle so you can sit down. Once you are seated in that leather covered piece of hardened foam, the tattered sticker on the seatback in front of you reminds you to buckle up. Just to make sure, uniform clad flight attendants use the onboard intercom system to remind you, remind you, and remind you. Buckle Up! Somehow their sweet voices always come out with a nasally piercing sound. For final inspection, these flight attendants then lumber through the narrow aisle to cross check each passenger. It never fails. There is always at least one person who is not wearing their seatbelt.
Last year, my last uncle passed away. He was the last in our immediate family that had been to war. He fought for our County like all of the Gibbs brothers. We were blessed that they all came home with whole bodies, and mostly sound minds. Aside from the brave volunteerism, they came back from war and built homes and families. They held a valued lesson in their hearts that only war can teach. They shared that lesson in their devotion to family and God. Not so much through stories.
To me, it often feels like the war in the Middle East and seatbelts have a thing or two in common. The stories ring out every day in the media and we strap them tight around our laps without ever thinking much of it at all. Some even forget that we are at war altogether.
There are a few things that keep me mindful of war, like pledging allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and singing the Star Spangled Banner. All countries have their anthems and pledges – but you can only feel the spirit of your own. It’s like the love you have for the woman you marry, or the way you feel when you suffer the loss of a loved one. It stirs your inside and tears well up in your eyes. In that moment, all of the glory and all of the pain that it takes to build a nation is resurrected in your heart.