Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Son, A Father, A War

"This world with its complexity is only an imperfect analogy of the eternal abyss from which it comes. . . Is there truly a telos (an ultimate reason) to history or are we merely spinning out of control in an ambivalent universe?. . . I am trying to make sense of a world that I had never known until the first time that I had to kill a man. . . ."

Sen. Kerry's derision aside, these are the words of a soldier who fought and died in Iraq; words so complex I could never have written them, and the LATimes had to help us along with a kindly inserted definition.

They are the words of Darrel Griffen Jr., who was killed by a sniper's bullet in Sadr City last March.

Today's LAT story on the father and his slain soldier son is a wonderfully, sorrowfully moving piece about Griffen Jr's strong mindset and selfless service, and his namesake father, who recently returned from Iraq, where he met with his son's mates as part of a commitment to completing the journals Jr. had kept while stationed there.

Reading the story, it is hard to imagine a father and son who are closer, making it even harder to imagine the heaviness of the task ahead for the father.
"Neither of us liked sports, so the thing we shared was reading and talking," he said. "We'd get a couple of bottles of merlot and talk philosophy late into the night. I used to ask him in advance which philosophers we were going to discuss so I could read up. I don't think you'll find a father and son closer than we were. He was the smartest man I ever met. I'm not writing this book, we're writing it."
Gen. David Petraeus is writing the forward, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

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