I'm going to take a break from the "We-Were-So-Cool-In-High-School" postings.
You'd think a bunch of former smart-mouthed, (mostly) pot-smoking, slacker, skateboard teenage thugs wouldn't be patriotic, but you'd be wrong. My brother, for instance, is one of the most patriotic people I've met. The common bond to all of us in the West Point Skateboard Gang was that our fathers were in the Army. Most served overseas or in a war. My own dad was badly injured in the Vietnam War.
None of the Skateboard Gang did time in the services, except Huck Tater (I think). For me, it was never an option. Shave my head, sleep with men, tell me what to do 24/7, where do I sign? Nah, no thanks. But that doesn't mean I'm not patriotic. And while, none of us in the Skateboard Gang have been lost in action, I'd like to take a moment to remember those we went to high school who have.
Donnie Tillar was different in many ways from us back in the day. He was clean-cut, popular, and completely confident with himself, even as a freshman (a rarity at James I. O"Neill, trust me on this one). I wish I could write more about him, but I didn't know him. He was a couple of years younger than me, and our circles of friends were completely disjoint. He was killed while serving in the first Gulf War.
CJ Meine was another we went to school with who went into the military. He went to West Point, got married, and served our country until a horrific accident injured him. I can't say I really know much about CJ either. In fact, if I'm being honest, I'd confess I didn't care for CJ much in high school, and I don't think he thought much of us. But that's ok. It doesn't mean I don't admire the sacrifices he made for his country. I do, and I think part of the maturation process is being able to let bygones be bygones. We are all very different people than we were in high school.
If I could write more about Donnie or CJ, I would. I'm asking that you leave a comment about them (you can do it anonymously if you want), or any others that we went to high school with that I've overlooked. In the spirit of Veteran's Day, let's take a moment to remember them and give thanks for their sacrifices, the benefits of which we enjoy every day.
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