I saw you in the grocery store, Sir, and the cover you proudly displayed that said “SSBN.” I felt compelled to thank you for your service, and to inquire if memory served that those letters mean nuclear ballistic submarine.
“A world ender,” I replied.
Silence. We stood there, across a chasm of age difference and life experience, and then I heard words of unity and true patriotism.
“Thank God we never had to use it,” you finished.
I nodded, you nodded, then you walked off. I shall never forget what I saw in your eyes. A man who fully understood the weight he and his shipmates had borne. That being called upon to burn the children of the enemy, or poison the environment we all share, was a sacred obligation. A man who would do his duty if necessary, but with the deepest regret. A man who fully appreciated that this power was nothing to brag or joke about. I never got your name, Sir. Too bad.
I thought of my children, and how I might sleep a little better at night if maybe I saw a little more of your sobriety and maturity in our president.
Richard Boozel, Star