“Live for the Moment”

“Live for the Moment”
sent to us by Ron Riecken
I wrote this note in Jan 2019, when I received a photo of an Old Guard soldier standing his post in a snow storm.
Oddly, I never sent it out…I don’t know why, but I held it in my “draft” email box.
Then, this week, Memorial Day week, I pulled it up and decided I would send it out for 31 May.
The very next day, I received an email from a very dear friend about a speech given at Hillsdale College.
An adaptation of that speech can be found at this link, for those of you less familiar with the Old Guard.
The speech was given by once Lt Tom Cotton, US Army…currently a US Senator from Arkansas.
For some of you, I had to use a business email because I only have your phone number in my contacts…apologies…send me your damn private email.
So finally, my notes on the blurry photo attached below.
The message begins with the old abbreviation for “message follows”.
The message ends with the abbreviation for “end of message”
I will not “sign” at the bottom, because putting anything below the photo would be far above my station.
The soldier in the photo speaks for us all on this Memorial Day.
— msg fols —
I’m an old soldier, and I tend to rant a bit about soldiers…I know.
Normally, I try to stifle that impulse because the Armed Forces today are so very different from the Armed Forces of my day.
However, today I’m deployed at an air field in some forsaken piece of the earth, amid a bunch of American service members and their allied troops…
And every day I notice, there are some things about serving in the Armed Forces that never change.
Then, about 20 friends sent me the photo that is attached below…its apparently making the rounds a lot this week…the copies I got were uncredited.
As I understand it, the photo is of a guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns standing his post during a heavy snow in Washington DC.
Its a great photo too, so I decided I should offer a comment on it…just this once.
Most Americans will look at this photo and think, “Oh, that poor young man…why do they make him stand out there in that miserable weather. How sad.”
That stuff makes me chuckle.
Bless their hearts, but even today, most Americans just don’t understand the first damn thing about soldiers, do they?
They would never believe how hard this young soldier had to work to earn that slot on the Tomb Guard Platoon.
They feel like they should comfort him…but really, they should congratulate him.
I said I was going to comment…so here is my comment on the photo.
Live for the Moment
Let me explain why I chose that comment, because its probably not obvious.
We hear/see people, pundits, posters say ”Live for the moment” quite a bit today…that’s an awfully vague term, don’t you think?
Does it mean – have a latte instead of a mocha this morning?
Does it mean – enjoy your commute while you listen to Nirvana?
I think that for most, its just some psychobabble term they pretend to understand…but I doubt many have a real feeling for what it means.
Well, let me elucidate.
Every person in the service…
Just like this soldier of the Third Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard)…
Knows exactly what the term “Live for the Moment” means.
At this very moment, this young Tomb Guard is cold and wet, and I can imagine some water from melting snow is running down his back and freezing again in his shirt.
At this very moment, he’s supernaturally focused on absolute perfection and precision in every detail of his drill.
At this very moment, despite all that, his chest is about to explode because he’s so f-ing pumped.
At this very moment, he’s getting his picture taken about 75 times a minute…he’s a rock star.
At this very moment, he knows he represents every man and woman who have ever served in the United States Armed Forces
At this very moment, he’s never been more proud of anything he’s done in his entire life.
At this very moment, HE is the guard on the Tomb of the Unknowns.
And that…puts some rock solid meaning to the term…”Live for the moment”.
You just gotta love the Old Guard…they always stand their post.
Just like every other soldier, sailor, marine, airman, or coast guardsman standing a post on some piece of dirt, on the deck of some ship, or on some flight line – all over the country and around the world.
For well over two centuries…
They’ve always been there…
And they’re there…right now…At this very moment.
“Live for the Moment”