Wednesday, March 29, 2006

London Calling

London is one of my favorite cities. I had a period where I was worn out on it but after staying away for over 10 years I have again discovered its joys and charm. I made a layover on my last flight to the sand box and looked at several apartments for a family holiday in July. The list is narrowing down and I am anxious to explore new places and old haunts with my wife, sister, and son. I guess you can say

I took this photo from the new pedestrian bridge which crosses from South Bank to Nothumberland Street leading to Trafalgar Square. It is a short walk from there to Charing Cross Station instead of a hike South to Waterloo Station. It was getting cold and I ducked into a pub for a pint soon after this as I needed to be fortified.

While I was setting up for this slow exposure, low light shot a couple of teens were walking over the bridge and one of them was putting his hand over people's backs and over their shutters in an attempt to ruin their photos. I saw this and when they got close to me I looked at them and told them to keep moving and not bother me. Of course one of them took this as a challenge and gave me the standard, "F*ck You." My reply was short and sweet. I told them that they needed to keep moving because I would jack them both up and all the other tourists around would swear that they started it. An older couple who had been targeted by the teens walked up about then. They were American and the man pointed at my cap which said "Operation Iraqi Freedom." He told the kid that I was a obviously a veteran and no pub brawler (I am no Billy Badass but I was putting on my very best scowl). The kids muttered and skipped off. The man came up to me and asked if I was a veteran. I told him yes, that I have been there since October of '03 even though I am a contractor I am a veteran of this war. He looked at me and told me that he was a Vietnam vet and was proud of us and what we are doing. Contractor or not we are all in harm's way and are all part of the effort ( His words, not mine). It made me choke up a bit and I began to think of my family particularly my young son. I also thought about how this grand old city had been struck by home grown terrorism so recently.

My friend Fritz makes me understand sometimes why we do what we do but I know that part of it is because of the sense of gratitude to our nation and veterans. That and the fact that I want to take my son all over the world. I want to drink beer with him in London, scuba dive in Belize, go to Carnival in Rio, river raft in Siberia, ski in Austria. I can't do that with terrorism rampant and a world aflame with war and hatred. Those older people and veterans of the past trust us to do what they did. We will hold the line and push tyranny of any form back into the nether regions it comes from.


Anonymous Don Cox said...

As an Englishman, I would just like to add my agreement to your post. In spite of the anti-war demonstrations, not all of us by any means think invading Iraq was a bad idea. Much of the anti-war sentiment is the natural feeling in any democracy that whatever the government does is probably wrong. ____ As for those punks, thanks for dealing with them.

10:55 PM  

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