The Art & Science of
In 2003, when the war in Afghanistan was gaining strength and U.S. tanks tore through Baghdad, I joined the Army. I was alone when I did. My family had no living (or dead) relative in our history that joined any army willingly or under forced conscription. But I had done so eagerly that it bordered on recklessness.
I joined out of a sense of patriotism, love for a country that had given me a home in New York. The five boroughs and iconic sights like the greening Statue of Liberty beckoning the world to send the huddled masses, the Museum of Natural History whose treasures were guarded by a Rough Rider, the smells of brick oven pizzerias on the avenue, the sounds of traffic and the 4,5,6 trains slithering like steel serpents, the feel of high towers and the black of smoldering ground that came after. It was a New York I called home, and I was trying to make it here.
I was a sophomore at St. John's University when I joined the Army. I had long lists of plans, among one was to strike the heart on the criminal justice system as some super lawyer. Taking the safe road of a well paid professional with a penchant toward self piety (theology minor) my plans were certain.
The career prospects for a theologian was limited and having no ambition to live hungry, poor and wretched, I plotted a clean honorable future as a prosecutor or defense attorney.
Then I walked by a U.S. Army poster. It showed men, cloaked in darkness and in a tint of green, wading through mud with this quote:
"We sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would harm us."