With A Veteran Youngster.
The hot weather has unexpected revelations. Young women betray their style and class with ugly exposure or beautiful and stylish, understated allure. You get to choose which fits your perception of which is which.
For OR, yesterday, it was something else. A striking piece of imagery I'll never forget. A young, tall, in my eyes, film star handsome, young man. He wore, sensibly, a short sleeved, summer top. Just below the knee, lightweight, cotton shorts. You had to have looked long and hard on his, I believe, right calf to detect scarring. No issue with the left side.
A prosthetic, mechanical, bang up to date, bolt on lower leg, not dissimilar to the one shown above. I couldn't help ask myself if this was a battle injury, to which he replied it was. I offered and he took my hand. I was humbled by his stoicism, "I should have looked where I was going" he said, with that classic military humour.
Here was a casualty maimed for life. An example of the cream of our modern youth of today. He had a friend, possibly brother, with him. Of all the quiet glory surrounding their normality, I was struck with how well served we are by these people. OK, it's a job, they'll say, we get paid.
OK, it is and they are. Let us not, however forget, when these young people sign up, they offer their lives for Queen and Country, on the dotted line. Not for them the political arguments and the philosophising we oldies may indulge in. Sure, I remember my own five year stint in the RAF but few conflicts existed in the early mid-sixties other than the propaganda of the cold war. More of a mental strife than physical.
As I left the store, where these two young men appeared to be stocking up for the weekend's celebrations to come, I was full of mixed feelings. My loathing of the incompetents in power was jumbled with my admiration for the troops placed in such terrible situations and in many cases, made quadriplegic out of the carnage manufactured by those at the top.
I was also full of admiration for the technology that is giving so many young men and some young women, a mobility which is much improved, out of the necessity created in those far off places. I don't know if the young man will read this post today but I dedicate it to all of our troops, young men and women who, with the rare exception that shames them all, serve not just us but in many instances the people they seek to protect from the bullies and political idiots of other countries would be bosses.
God bless you all and thank you.