I was impressed reading the names on the backs of all the hats in front of me, at just how diverse America and our military is. Names that represent every flavor, from Scandinavians, Germans, Koreans, French, Scots, to other Asians, Samoans, and soldiers whose names clearly have their origins in the Middle East. The ceremony gets its traditions, including the bugle signals, presenting of the colors, from more than one hundred and fifty years ago. There is definitely a liturgy to everything we witnessed.
Afterward we chatted with an Apache helicopter pilot, soon to deploy to Afghanistan in Will's unit. Gazing at a $35,000,000 machine bristling with weaponry that made my teeth chatter (or was that partly from the cold weather, it was 14 this morning in the temperate Puget Sound region with a light dusting of snowfall here at sea level), I asked the pilot if he was anxious about being in combat. His reply, "I hope they shoot at me when I'm flying this thing. That means I get to shoot back." Later I asked the chaplain about pilots and about the condition of this pilot's soul. "Cocky, fearless, and lost as a goose," he replied.