Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Let Words Go Unsaid, John Smathers

Our Life Experiences really shape us. I have been evaluated psychologically so I guess all things being equal, I would be expected to behave in a certain way.--But for Life Experiences.

I had this experience. I served with John Smathers in Iraq.

I knew him before, he was a lawyer and we had a lot of enjoyable repartee. When he went to Iraq he was valued by the command justifiably for his expertise, his steady hand in tense times, and good humor always.

One day, after we had returned from Iraq, I happened to see John in a line with his unit, the 352 CA Cmd on Feb 3, 2006. I was there finishing up my last military duty before my retirement on March 1, 2006 so this was the last chance where I would run into someone. I had had some experiences in life that made me recognize that I should say how I felt to John. I let him know that I had appreciated being with him in Iraq (Being a man, I couldn't gush and say I loved him but the handshake and exchange of pleasantries accomplishes that among men who have served in harm's way and knew what it was like to look out and care for each other)

The next night, John died running with his dogs, one of which he loved enough to rescue from Iraq. What a relief it is to not agonize over whether I said what I wanted to say. I had told John I appreciated him and those words then resonated with his body, soul and spirit for all eternity and they echo as I repeat them now.

I have seen people roll their eyes sometimes when I let them know I appreciate them (Ok, why are you doing this, what do you want?) But be forewarned. I will keep doing it!!

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