My Piece of the Wall  

Posted by Brock Booher

Fighter pilots sometimes classify other pilots as follows - There are fighter pilots and pilots that fly fighters. I must admit that after a couple of years in the A-10 I still considered myself the latter. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy flying fighters. I loved the flying immensely. It does mean that I never felt completely worthy to classify myself with the first group.

The other night I was helping my son with a school project about the Cold War and the Berlin Airlift. He shrugged off my suggestions, like he so often does, leaving me feeling a bit rejected. I wanted to shake him and let him know that I was there when the Berlin Wall came down. I had taken a piece of the wall, and bought old East German military trinkets at Brandenburg Gate. So, I went in search of my piece of the wall.

I pulled out some old boxes of memorabilia and started digging. I found all my old Air Force awards officially describing my accomplishments. I found old photos of a younger me daring the world to put me to the test. I was able to share a bit of history with him and bring his assignment to life, but I never found my piece of the wall.

I found some old journals, back from when I kept a regular journal like I should now. As I opened the dusty pages of bad handwriting, I recognized that same self doubt that keeps me from classifying myself with the first group. Line after line of self-effacing emotional drivel. No wonder I never felt adequate. No piece of the wall here.

My kids were a little surprised at my awards and decorations. To them I’m just the guy that goes to work and comes home complaining that the house isn’t clean. They asked why I didn’t hang them all on a wall to show them off. They asked me to explain what I had done to be honored with each one. Each time I simply smiled. No piece of the wall here.

Past personal accomplishments hold little value for me. Today is a new day, and demands new achievements. I would rather be trying and failing today than reliving the few successes of yesterday. Yesterday is just a lost piece of the wall.

Fighter pilots may never classify me as one of their own, but I’m ok with that. Today is a new day.

This entry was posted on Thursday, April 1, 2010 at Thursday, April 01, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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