To make a long story short, I was part of the color guard in Washington D.C. for an annual reunion of an infantry division that was integral to the victory in Europe. Everybody knows about D-Day and Normandy. If that was the hammer, then the push up from Africa and into Italy was the anvil. So I spent the past four days as part of the color guard for about fifty veterans of the Italian Campaign. These men did more in three or four years than I've done in my entire career. One of the men enlisted when he was sixteen, got sent to Italy in '43, stayed through V-E day and the occupation, then came back in time to be sent to Korea, and finished his Army career with three tours in Viet Nam. This man literally spent half of his entire career in a war zone. It makes you feel very, very small to compare your life with theirs.
Maybe that's a good thing.
But that's where I was. It's a lot of time marching, and standing, and marching a bit more, and standing a whole lot, and then finish with a little bit more marching. The only time we didn't have to hold the colors was at the various memorials in D.C., as there's plenty of flags waving in the breeze. The one bit of time I had to myself, I ran the National Mall, from the Capitol Building to the Lincoln Memorial and back. Beautiful run.
So I've got a few photos, and some damn good memories. I'm hoping that I'll be able to do it again next year, but there's fewer and fewer of the veterans left. I made sure to walk around and shake as many hands as I could before I left. It was a humbling experience.