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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Optimism, The Young Folks Have My Vote

Why I am optimistic about the youth of Our Nation.

Back in the 80s, I was a contracting officer for the Military District of Washington (MDW). MDW is the Army's major military command charged with the protection of our Nation's capital. Since Washington D.C. isn't in imminent threat from foreign powers, MWD has mostly a ceremonial mission. The Old Guard provides the best of our young servicemen for these ceremonial duties. These young men rise to the honor with the greatest of professionalism.

One of those duties is guarding the Tombs of the Unknown Soldiers. There is an uniformed soldier walking that post 24 hours a day every day of the year, rain, snow, ice or shine. 21 perfectly executed steps, an about face, 21 perfectly executed steps no matter if it is 2:00 PM or 2:00 AM. This has been the case from the installation of the 1st Tomb.

As contracting office I procured the equipment and services used to keep this time honored tradition operating to the level of support such professional dedication deserved. One day I received a heart braking request to install observation cameras at the Tombs. They were needed to protect the young men walking their post.

Seems some poorly raised juveniles decided it would be fun to brake the continuous flow of the guard by going into Arlington Cemetery in the dead of night, wait for the Tomb Guard to walk with his back to them, then run out of the black surroundings and tackle him then run off into the pitch black night. In every case the guard would recover and shake off his injuries and resume walking his post.

The cameras were needed to surveil the surroundings to prevent anyone sneaking up on the guards.

Through history moments of stupidity have struck without warning. Men and women have always failed to see the consequences of their actions at one time or another. We all can look back and feel shame for some of our actions. But there are always those who set the example and give themselves to a higher cause. As few as they may seem, I feel it is with in all of us, just not all the time. We have to cross a line at times to fully understand the flaws of our actions. But there are always those to give us a hand to get back. That hand is often just their dedication to a higher purpose.

I have seen it many time and this little recounting is just one example.

During my days at MDW.


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