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I’m still stewing about my buddy. But now it doesn’t have to do with my disappointment over him missing our camping trip. Now it’s some other things that are less definable and maybe less superficial.

I talked to him briefly on the phone tonight. I didn’t want to talk too long because I learned he has about seven hours left to spend with his new wife before hopping on some troop carrier and heading off to places unknown. He leaves behind bills, a pug dog, a pretty wife, and a steady job. I couldn’t quite define the tone in his voice. I wish I could. It might make me understand how he’s feeling right now.

It makes you wonder. Most of us (at least the few souls who find time daily to stop by here) have not lived in a time when we were duty-bound to do anything. The greatest obligation most of us have is a mortgage and a slack-jawed pet to feed. Some of us have taken on a greater duty…that of the two-legged, drooling variety. The kind that eats crayons and then melts your heart by spitting out the saliva-mixed wax into what looks like “I love you, Mommy,” on the new carpet. I assume that is a great duty…but not exactly what I had in mind.

We have had the luxury of growing up in a time when army gear was grunge-faux-fashion and grunge kings overdosing on buckshot was a great tragedy. In short, we’re softies.

I should say before I piss off any Kurt Cobain fans or former army-jacket wearers (I’m not talking to you, Ben Dayo) that there isn’t anything wrong with us being soft. Or perhaps I should say…we had little choice.

I was talking with my wife tonight (she and the dog are snoozing right now) about the biggest news stories of our generation…or at least the one’s that got the most attention. I randomly started with the 80’s. Reagan catching a bullet. Challenger blowing up. Berlin Wall and the fall of the Soviet Union. Gulf War. Waco/OK City (I don’t know why I link those). And now this. This which is likely the biggest thing that will happen in any of our lives.

Now think about our grandparents and parents…WWI, Prohibition (that’s life without a snoot-full to you and me), the Great Depression, WWII, Korea, Kennedy, Vietnam, Kennedy, King, the moon…and then us (acutally some of us came before the moon, but I won’t count if you don’t).

Now, compare the two. We spent the last ten years trying to convince our parents we were a tough generation. But I’m not sure we could’ve compared our lives to theirs until the last few months. Given, our generation changed the world for the better. People much smarter and more creative than me created a whole new world. But…can we credit ourselves for the great change if we did it in such a slutty time? I mean, if the 90’s had been any easier, that girl I knew in high school wouldn’t hold the title of…well, I’m digressing.

Actually this whole thing has been a digression. I just started typing and didn’t read back over what I wrote until just now. I think I should erase most of it, but I’m not going to. I told myself that if I started editing what I wrote because I didn’t want you to see it that I would scrap this entire thing.

I think the point I started off to make here goes something like this: Maybe we should be working for something greater than we are.

I’m not sure what it is and maybe we’re doing it and I just don’t realize it.

I just know that right now, I’d like to take my wife on a family and friend hugging tour. I want to go hug my mom and dad. I want hug my buddies from high school and college (that’s a manly one-armed hug by the way. none of that Sissy stuff). And I want to climb up into the mountains, listen to good music, and drink beer with…wait I’m doing that in three days. Fantastic.

I should go sleep.

One more thing…if you get a moment…think about those people who are leaving their families right now and don’t know when they’re coming home. Then ask youself what you’d do if someone asked you to do the same.

I’d like to think we could all do it.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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