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Showing posts from February, 2023

Yellow Footprints: An Anniversary Reflection

Hurry Up and Wait... I grew up in a small community in southern Illinois–Newton, Illinois–where people generally knew each other or at least knew   of   each other. It was–and still is–a nice town. It’s the kind of town that still holds a fall parade where tractors and marching bands own the streets. People sit along the curb in their chairs while the kids play along the street. The people there cherish the tempo and lifestyle, quietly aware that if everyone lived that way, it would be a much better world. I wasn’t exactly setting any academic records in high school, so I needed a change of pace and some way to transition to a successful track somewhere, somehow. I had thought about the military, but I hesitated to follow through. I wasn’t sure I would be cut out for the military life, and I didn’t know which branch of the service to enter. I was very certain that if I did join the military service, it wouldn’t be the Marines because I was pretty sure I couldn’t make it there. However,


I think we all have had times when we did something, or thought about doing something, that didn’t seem like much of a big deal at the time, but then later its importance grew over time, and the decision you made to either do that thing or not turned out to be more meaningful than we had imagined at the time we made the choice. One such time for me was the time some friends and I climbed Mount Fuji in Japan. We were deployed to a camp at the base of the mountain from Okinawa. It was July 4, 1976 and we had a military parade in honor of the 200th birthday of our Nation and about a dozen of us thought it would be cool to climb it to celebrate the day after the parade. Mount Fuji isn’t a difficult mountain to climb, there’s just a lot of it: a little more than 12,000 feet of it. A lot of Japanese successfully make a pilgrimage of the climb every year. You can climb it in about eight hours if you follow a trail. It’s certainly no Denali. We wanted the climb to be special though, so we