We have a little rhyme for lost things:
Tony, Tony come around
Something's lost and must be found!
Tony being St. Anthony, the patron of lost objects. Tony was working overtime this week in our house: in the space of about three days we found Maria's iPod (missing for a couple of months), Matthew's MP3 player (gone for about one month), and my 2005 calendar which I had not seen since I started writing this blog in June of 2006! I may now have more accurate dates. I find that a comfort.
So now I can tell you with some certainty, we left for Seattle and Fort Lewis on October 26, 2005, a Wednesday. When we arrived in Olympia and found the protestors, I wondered if it was because of the Strykers' redeployment ceremony, but it turned out to be (according to the Daily Olympian) because the 2,000th servicemember had been lost in Iraq. I think Thomas was around 1,258 but I also think there is no way to be sure. An unhappy coincidence for us, and I've spent some time since then wondering if I had stood in front of them and announced my maiden name whether some of them would have realized that they knew me. What that would have proved I don't know, but it was disconcerting to think that old classmates could be there. I elected to not embarrass my family and kept my silence.
Dinner that night was to be at Fort Lewis with some of the other families of the fallen. This had been arranged by Norma Melo, who had lost her husband Julian in the dining hall incident on December 21, 2004. Norma is a natural organizer and had put this together by internet communication. Many of us have shared e-mails and she had shared with me that Thomas had volunteered at an elementary school on post, teaching writing. (Norma was recently interviewed as part of a story on NPR about a returned soldier who had worked with Julian.) Some of the families were local and knew each other, some of us were strangers, but eating together did give us an opportunity to talk a little bit.
Labels: Dinner at Fort Lewis