An interesting thing happened yesterday. I bought some CDs and was listening to Emerson, Lake & Palmer's Greatest Hits. The first song was Lucky Man, a beautiful story of a privileged soul with all of the rewards of earthly life.
He had white horses
And ladies by the score
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door
But he chose to serve a higher calling.
He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing
War respects no man's status or class and so...
A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died
Yet the refrain comes back and reminds us.
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was. Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
He died for something larger than himself. Greater love hath no man than this: That a man lay down his life for his friends. As I sat pondering what a beautiful song and tale this was, I looked on Facebook and I saw a post from Mike Brennan remembering his son Josh and this video. I then looked at the bracelet I have worn every day for about 5 years.
At that moment it was still the 25th of October, but it occurred to me that it was already the 26th in Afghanistan where Josh and the Rock paratroopers had been fighting the Taliban. Godspeed Josh, You were a Lucky Man.
Mike Brennan gave me the KIA bracelet at a fundraiser to welcome home Josh's unit from the war. He also asked me a funny question, "Hey Uncle J, I remember you from a few years ago. Did you counter-protest an anti-war event at the recruiting station here in Madison back in '04?"
That caught me by surprise, but the answer was yes. Mike was a City of Madison Police Detective and he said "I thought so. I was there in plainclothes to keep an eye on things. When this big guy with a huge sign on a 2x4 showed up, I got assigned to follow him around and make sure he didn't beat anyone with it. That was you. Your cute little blonde daughter was with you, right?" Again the answer was yes. He said "Yeah, I had a great time that day. You went around and argued with all the hippies and ripped 'em up. I wished I coulda said those things to them. That was one of my more enjoyable days on the force." Well, there was a mind blower, for sure.
It was great to meet Mike and the rest of the Brennans. They are the kind of people that make me proud to be from Wisconsin and an American. I'm thankful God put us together then and gave a very cool reminder of that yesterday. I carry Josh's warrior spirit on my wrist every day, not as a reminder, but as a symbol. When asked about the KIA bracelet I wear, I have the opportunity to tell about SGT Josh Brennan, an American hero. He will always be remembered, as will all the Lucky Men and Women who have given their lives for freedom.