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An Ode To Alan – A True Veteran

November 10, 2013


One of the most universal behaviors I know is that of avoidance when we are facing something we regard as undesirable in some way. It is such a human thing to avoid and put off dealing with things that we anticipate will bring up feelings and thoughts that we prefer not to face.

The universality of it is in the desire to avoid. But our individuality shows through as to how we go about avoiding. In that regard, each one of us is very unique, not only in regard with being different than someone else in avoidance mode, but most likely, not even going about avoiding something the same way we did the last time we went into avoidance mode.

Time for true confessions – I have been avoiding posting because Veteran’s Day is a trigger for me. It has become a trigger for me because of my connection to a man who, although it was quite an unlikely union, became closer to me than most people in my life. His name was Alan and first and foremost, he was a United States Marine.

Alan’s story is one that I would need another lifetime to sort out, mostly because to this day, I am still not quite sure what percentage of the information he shared with me is fact and what amount is exaggeration. There are also a lot of things that I know Alan could not bring himself to share with me, no matter how close we became.

US Marines

US Marines

I know, that although on the surface, he was one of the toughest, meanest, hardest people you would ever want to meet; his interior being was as soft as the finest silk money could buy. His heart was as big as The Grand Canyon, but he didn’t let too many people get to see that side of him.

He was extremely intelligent, and that too, he hid from many people.

When I met Alan, he had lived life, riding as high as he’d ever imagined he could, and also had come crashing down as low as a person can. He lived through life and seen things that he could never talk about with others during his three tours of duty in VietNam.

I believe he lost more than most people can ever hope to gain in many life times. And almost three years ago, I lost Alan. He died of COPD, although he chose never to fully surrender smoking his cigars.

I have had my share of loss with relatives, close family members, even a few friends, but no loss feels as deep or as wide as the loss I feel with Alan being gone.



America was his family. America was his father. America was his community. And he lived and died for America.

Although I have avoided going here emotionally, I know I owe this post and so much more, to my brother, Alan and to all the others who fought along side him.

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