You boys awoke with just another day ahead. You perhaps anticipated it with dread because, Lord, it seems to me looking for good men and women in an office in a strip mall, no matter how worthy the endeavor, must be terribly dull. Some of you kissed a wife or lover 'Good-bye' and just went off to work. Perhaps you had discussed with her weekend plans. You maybe even left angry because of something you both would have forgotten about by the evening and which she will now remember forever.
You carried no service weapon. We trust you, expect you, to defend us, yet some idiots who have never fired a pistol in their lives, and whom I am quite sure would not be able to distinguish one firearm from another, decided that you should be unarmed as you sat in your offices and recruited Americans into the services. (I know that those who decided this go forth into the public with fully-armed protection personnel. And as elites who need to be guarded so as not to miss their evening appointment with a good Chardonnay and a willing government intern, they do need to stay safe. They have people to meet, memoirs to write, and blueprints of libraries to attend to. The libraries will be steel and glass edifices suspended heavenward and visited on summer holidays many years hence by families who go there just because of the name.)
Tomorrow your names will be printed, and the next day your names will be forgotten save by the wife, the lover, the child, the mother and father, your sisters and brothers. And all of these will remember every July 16, every birthday, every, maybe, Thursday. (I had someone killed on a Thursday and once I stopped screaming, the overtones of those screams returned to me, still return, every Thursday. This even years since. It will always be years since, now.)
I saw a man bent over, kneeling really, on his knees crying. There is no symphony of grief as pure and complete, it seems to me, as the sound of a grown man weeping.
An impossibly young bugler may crack the note at your funerals as he gives us 'Taps' and the flag is handed to your girls.
And the speakers will return to their armored limousines, turn to their trusted aides for rave reviews of their 'remarks' and speed on to an evening at the home theater.
And the killer? Well he is just a demented, confused man. A non-overseas-contingency fella.
Nothing to look at here. Move along. We will.