So the other day there was an ESPN analyst on twitter that wrote:
"Worst feeling in the world? Guy sitting behind me in the bleachers coughing toward me the whole night"
I laughed to myself thinking of all the terrible things that I have lived through, being asked as a mere infant to choose between my Mother and my Father not understanding what the word divorce meant.
Facing hunger as a child living in the projects in Duluth. Seeing some of the worst of what humanity has to offer there in that city surrounded by drugs and alcoholism. Sitting in a car outside of some dive bar counting down the seconds until Dad would come out, or lying in bed at night crying for my Mother. On and on and on I thought about the worst memories in my life.
I then asked myself what my idea of the worst feeling in the world would be. I thought of my Grandpa Edwin fighting fiercely in Europe forcing back the enemy for 18 months at a time on the front lines riding around in the bowels of a Sherman tank huffing carbon monoxide from the engine with nothing to eat but greasy canned cheddar cheese all the while witnessing the stench and horror of war and death day in and day out for so long, and taking fire... and being shot.
I tried to imagine the things that my Uncle Dennis had lived through in the jungles of Vietnam, fighting a war that few understood against an enemy that was armed only because of a cold war with an empire that garnered its own glory vicariously in our demise against a third world enemy. I imagined him returning home not to a heroes welcome but to ridicule from the very people that he thought he was fighting to defend from.....something....
I thought of my Uncle Mike, my Sister, her husband, my Brother Justin and to all the servicemen and women that have fought and died in every American conflict since this country's inception. It is because of these people, our family that our nations flag still flies over this land. It is because of them that for some of us, our greatest fear in this world is that some stranger might cough in our direction.