Monday, October 15, 2007

"If your son is so smart, why is he in the Army?"

This, friends, is the verbatim question that was stated to me in the sacristy yesterday before Mass.

Now, the woman who said it was simply thinking out loud what she wanted to say to her sister. It was in the context of her telling me about her trip to Washington DC last week and in which we discovered that we happened to be at Arlington cemetary at the same time last Sunday. I immediately and gently said: "I have a son in the Army."

One would think that something like that would give the speaker some pause - perhaps: "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend." In times like these, I suppose, there is no room for middle ground. So, she continued without missing a beat complaining about how much is spent on the war and how little is spent on education. I wish I would have had statistics ready about the percentage of budget spent on national defense as opposed to education. Or would have thought to say that it is not the constitutional duty of the national government to educate, but it is to provide for the national defense.

Maybe I should have explained that my (now part-time) soldier son is working on his Masters degree in Computer Science or that he is programming computers in a vault in order to keep her CNN satellite feed running smoothly.

But, no. I just listened. And then warmly shook her hand and wished her peace at the sign of peace.

God bless her and her nephew.

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