Despite having every intention of holing up during today's first snowfall, we attended the commissioning ceremony of the USS Milwaukee today like many other "hearty" Wisconsinites. County sheriffs, city police officers and military personnel - active and veteran were well represented.
One sailor in particular caught my eye. He couldn't have been that much older than my own teen daughter, I thought, and he definitely couldn't have been a Wisconsin native because Wisconsinites feel the cold, but we don't necessarily look like we feel it. This poor kid, he looked like he was feeling every bit of the minus zero wind chill and snow.
In my mind, he was a baby. His ears stuck out from his sailor's hat. They were bright red from the cold and his teeth visibly chattered. My motherly instinct was to grab his shoulders and give them the warm-up-down-rub or at least shield his ears.
Before I could do any well-meaning gesture that would get all of us removed from the ceremony, the ship was officially commissioned.
The ceremony was then concluded by a prayer.
I bowed my head and closed my eyes and thought of the sailor and all the service men and women on board...just babies. Somebody's babies. And I prayed for their safety.
I thought of how in this age of fear-mongering rationalized by race, ethnicity and religion, that I was standing there out in the open, praying --in front of God and to God with black, brown, yellow and white people. Babies, all of us, God's babies.
I thought about how this scene, the show of military leadership alongside our prayers for God's blessings on them couldn't happen in some places in the world today.
Is the US flawed in terms of racial, economic and gender justice? Does it have a habit of appropriating land, culture and narratives? Definitely.
At the same time, it can draw people together despite all of that.
And that's pretty amazing.
|Keep them in your prayers.|