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It's Nice Enough To Die In
J. D. Pendry
"The Lord prefers common-looking people. That is the reason he makes so many of them." - Abraham Lincoln
Just the other day my Commander and I took some young soldiers who worked for us to a farewell lunch. The Colonel thought it would be a grand idea to take them to the officer's club. It's not often that privates get to have a meal in the officer's club. Especially one as snooty as this particular club.
The soldiers and I were wearing Battle Dress Uniforms. At first, I was really amused at some of the looks we got while walking through the buffet line and eating our meal. I saw many open looks of disgust, frankly. I didn't know if it was because we were enlisted soldiers or what. I actually felt uncomfortable sitting there eating. It's a way I had never felt before. The service was fine but I felt like someone was going to come by and spit on me at any minute. I could sense that many of the patrons didn't want those young soldiers and me to be there. I wondered if this is how blacks felt during the days of segregated lunch counters.
When we finished our meal we got up and left. The young soldiers and I filed by a table with an older lady and gentleman sitting at it. Retired officer, I assumed. From the looks on their faces you'd have thought they just found a booger in their soup. They made some comments under their breath as the soldiers passed by. When I neared the table I heard the old gentleman say to his lady, "They shouldn't be allowed in here," to which she responded, "Especially dressed like that, don't they look ridiculous?" I felt myself flush a little. You know the hot feeling you get just before you jump up on the table and start kicking plates onto the floor? I paused, and when I did I recalled something one of my mentors said to me long ago when I apologized to him for showing up to his promotion ceremony wearing a Battle Dress Uniform. When I thought of that I looked down at the couple, smiled and said quietly, "It's a nice enough suit to die in. Don't you think it ought to be okay for lunch?"
Copyright© 1997 J. D. Pendry, All Rights Reserved