Army Cpt. Robin Fine-Bradley
Veteran's Day is that day set aside by custom and Congress to honor those who serve and who have served and returned to tell the tale. On this day we as a people give due honor to the many who have given and are giving a portion of their lives in both combat and in the vital support roles so necessary to those on front lines.
In Clay County, there are many whom we justly so honor. Allow me, since this is my blog, to make note of one of whom this community can be very proud, Army Captain Robin Fine-Bradley.
Robin pilots Medevac helicopters in Afghanistan, leading a Company which transports casualties of war as well as sick and injured locals. They confidently tell us the Army does not put 90-pound young women in harms way -- what they tell us is fable.
Robin is the daughter of Jerry and Julia Fine of Brazil, and my self-appointed godchild. Whenever I ask about "my girl" her parents know of whom I speak. I think of her as something like a favorite niece, or grandchild. If I am very lucky maybe once in a year I can hug her and for a few brief seconds she is "my girl," and I share her with no one.
The first time I saw her, she was getting ready to go jogging with our son Benji. At the time she was trying to talk her dad into getting her a skateboard, I suspect just to prove a girl could do it. Even casual observation told of a young woman who was going to do just about anything she set her mind to do. I once told her that other than my own daughter she had more substance than any 15-year-old girl I had ever met.
Robin is a 2000 graduate of Northview High School. On Awards Day, she garnered a boatload of certificates. These she tossed on the front seat of her old Texas-roundup pickup truck and drove me home, like the "good 'ole girl" she is. As Salutatorian she gave a speech indicative of the gracious Christian lady she also is.
There has always seemed to me to be some kind of "spiritual" connection between us. Somehow, though there is no logical reason, I have a sense of responsibility for her. She is not just someone to keep in "thoughts and prayers," but a person who will never face difficulty without my feeling it. But, that's just me.
When President Kennedy was assassinated TV anchorman David Brinkley said something to this effect: "We can hear of 100,000 in Pakistan made homeless by a typhoon or flood, and the information passes through our minds with barely a pause. But, when we hear the name of someone we know -- or feel we know -- now it is a tragedy."
Before Capt. Robin Fine went to Afghanistan that war was just a sound bite on the evening news. Now my girl is there, now I listen, now I care, now I daily hurt for families I will never know.
Maybe as a people we don't need a Veteran's Day quite as much as we need to know just one person so far away from a too brief hug.
So, who is your Veterans Day veteran?
David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.