A Sea of Poppies

 How had it happened that when choosing the men and women who were to be torn from this subjugated plain, the hand of destiny had stayed so far inland, away from the busy coastlines, to alight on the people who were, of all, the most stubbornly rooted in the silt of the Ganga, in a soil that had to be sown with suffering to yield its crop of story and song? It was as if fate had thrust its fist through the living flesh of the land in order to tear away a piece of its stricken heart.
–Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies

A Person of Consequence

Miriam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad, Miriam thought, that she should die this way. Not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate belongings. –Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Risky Cuts

007 Visits the Troops

Some celebrities find time in their schedule to come visit the troops, wherever we may be. Daniel Craig, fresh off his success in the latest James Bond flick, visited my old stomping air. I would write stomping grounds,  but we were always at a high elevation when we flew over Camp Bastion in Helmand Province:

007, Daniel Craig, visits Camp Bastion to meet soldiers, introduce new James Bond film Skyfall

Mr. Craig recently got his American driving license. Remember, we drive on the right side.

Royal Marine Lance Corporal Matt Croucher

LCpl Matt Croucher suffered only shock and a bloodied nose

Heroes, they help set the bar for the rest of us to aspire to. In Afghanistan, Lance Corporal Matt Croucher wrapped his body, his backpack, and his body armor over a popped grenade. It exploded and the Lance Corporal survived:

A Royal Marine who threw himself onto an exploding grenade to save the lives of his patrol has been put forward for the UK’s highest military honour.

Lance Corporal Matt Croucher, 24, a reservist from Birmingham, survived because his rucksack and body armour took the force of the blast.

He was part of a reconnaissance troop in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, in February, when the incident happened.

The Ministry of Defence said he could be considered for the Victoria Cross.

I wish the good Lance Corporal well. The Victoria Cross, yes, it befits him. Just my $.02.

In other Marine news, don’t forget to vote for Castra Praetoria for Best Marine Blogger at the Milbloggies.