Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Band of Brothers

I don't talk much here about the guys group I lead on Tuesdays. For one, it's a group where each of us are free to bring whatever we want and come wherever we are; emotionally speaking for both. In that freedom also comes the responsibility of privacy. And secondly, I don't want anyone to think our group is some kind of he-man-woman-haters club; it's not. With those two things in mind, the neither will be threatened if I share what happened last night.

My friends and family like to kid me that I can get emotional about movies. Part of what I experienced may just be those emotions playing out, but maybe there's more to it than that. For the last month we've been watching the Band of Brothers mini-series. We watched the last three episodes last night and they struck me deeply. Partly because for the first (and only) time they showed the American soldiers from Easy Company finding a hidden concentration camp. Even though it was a mini-series, the producers did not shy away from spending a lot on special effects. It was horrible, to say the least, and in that horror lies some emotion. But more so than that, at least for me, was the interview time with actual members of Easy Company, now as old men.

I can never begin to imagine what the effects of war would do to a person. These men spent two to three years over in Europe in some of the worst warfare ever waged in American history. In that ugliness, they bonded friendships and a brotherhood that I could never understand. The viewing of these men's story brought me full circle to the Band of Brothers I was sitting in that room with as the credits began to roll.

I drove home trying to figure out what the meanings to the phrases, "big world" and, "small world" meant and which one I was feeling. It seemed pretty small to me last night. I sat in a room with six other guys I am lucky to call friends. They ranged from slight friends to my best friend, but all were friends. They each arrive from quite varied backgrounds and family make-ups, but on Tuesday nights they are my brothers. And after watching ten episodes of boys turning into men, seeing the wordless bond close quarters create, the intense pain and anger when a friend is killed, and the always present sacrifice they were willing to make for each other, I couldn't help but compare the guys in that room last night to some sort of similar feeling. And strangely enough, feeling a little guilty about it.

(I'm sorry my thoughts on this are so broken and sporadic. I thought about writing my emotions down last night, but they were so intense I'm not sure it would have been better writing anyway.) I want to say those guys would do anything for me, but I can't. Not because they don't value me as a friend, but because we aren't in a war situation where our lives are daily at risk. We don't lay down cover fire for each other, or pull each other into foxholes when snipers are firing at us. We exist on a separated plain, not denying close for some, but separated nonetheless. The world as we know does not require any of those things, but simply a friendly acquaintance most often relegated to text messages, phone calls, and emails.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy I don't have to see my friends die. And please know the last thought was not a rip on the deepness of friendships that many of us have. But none of them have been tested in fire. Even so, as I said earlier, I am proud to call them and to be their brother. I would never ask to lose contact with a single one of them, and it pains me often to know that not a single original member of the group is still in it. I love those guys. In a strange way I'm not sure we deserve each other but I'm so glad we can ignore that and live out our friendships.

To every present member and to every one no longer with us, I salute you. The story part of the mini-series ended with an unpopular face from the first episode reappearing only to be humiliated. The line went, "You don't salute the name, you salute the rank." That was war and honor was held in rank. In 2009, I'm happy to say I salute each of you by name. Chip, Andrew, Brad, Josh, Dan, Zack, Evan, Kyle, Mike, Steve, Sean, John, Dave, Jon, Dave, Grant, Jonathan, Jamin, and anyone else who's ever been with us. Thanks for being my brothers.


Blogger vic said...

You may not have seen battle together, but you are better because of having been together. I'm thankful for BOB and thankful for your leadership there.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Sweet Peripety said...

there was a thread that I came across recently that touched on the topic of how strange our society deals with 'heros" in war, this was interesting that you wrote about the differences between "then" and "now" during a time of war. thanks for your heart sharing!

1:07 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

yeah brother

7:09 PM  
Blogger Dave and Betsy's Blog said...

I salute you in name and rank, my friend. I miss you and miss my brothers. I really do wish I could have been there to watch those movies with you guys. Anyways... pass on my greetings and love to my band of brothers.

10:45 AM  

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