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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial


Today is a somber day. 10 years ago this morning, a terrific series of murders went down, and a lot of lives were changed forever. It also set in motion our war with Afghanistan, which cost a lot of American lives.

You may support the war, or you may fight against it. You may think of soldiers as heroes, or invaders, or any number of ways. It may depend on the war. I can't see hippies spitting on a returning soldier who just stopped the Holocaust, for instance. However, you can't deny that the soldier knew the risks, but answered the call anyhow.

SL has a series of memorials dating to this period in US history, and I hope you see them all during your travels. Not many of them is going to smash you in the mouth like the Operation Enduring Freedom Memorial.

It's a simple place. There's a small courtyard, a flagpole whose base bears the emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The main memorial is a pillar with what I assume are eternal red/white/blue flames. It features a flashing screen that puts up a picture, the name, and the hometown of someone who paid a Soldier's Debt in service of our country.

You can stand before the monument and salute the soldiers if you want to. The picture above is what you see if you click the Salute pose and zoom the camera in. I decided to focus on Captain David Connolly. His name and face flashed across the memorial while I was aiming my camera.

David was a Boston guy, a prosecutor who went to Afghanistan with his unit- Brockton's Army Reserve 1173rd Transport Division. A helicopter Connolly was on crashed in bad weather, with no survivors. He left a widow and a hell of a resume back in Massachusetts.

I'm pretty sure that whatever goes on in Heaven or Valhalla or wherever Old Soldiers go is constantly interesting enough that the souls there don't really need video games. SL is fun and everything, but would you play it if you could instead cross a room and shoot the sh*t with Saladin or Joan of Arc? I think not.

Connolly looked a bit busy to have accumulated much knowledge about playing video games... but I like to think that someone in Heaven knows SL, and maybe says, "Hey Captain... check it out. You're in a video game!" I hope he gets a smile out of it, and I hope he saw me saluting.


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