January 29, 2023

Thanks again to David Stacy for his continually interesting and disturbing articles at stacynet
“You are an asset! An expendable asset, and I used you to get the job done, got it!”-Col. Dillion (Predator)
This Christmas, Ruth McGlothlin will prepare all of her usual holiday recipes for the family. The house will be filled with the aroma of homemade candy, fruitcake, turkey, baked ham, and candied yams. There will be a beautiful Christmas tree in the corner with numerous presents wrapped in flamboyant colors lying underneath. Countless family members and well-wishers will visit to spread the Christmas cheer. Christmas music will play throughout the house and prayers will be said before the Christmas dinner.
But this Christmas will be different for Ruth and the entire McGlothlin clan. This is the first Christmas that they will have without their son, Ryan McGlothlin. You see, Ryan will not be coming home for Christmas this year, or any other year for that matter. Ryan, as well as 2,000 other young men, died in that giant sandbox over in Iraq. The Christmas scene described above will be repeated in homes of grieving parents and spouses all over the country.
Oh, I know, you hear about soldiers dying all the time on CNN. The over/under betting line for dead soldiers each day hovers around 5. As with all things unpleasant you get used to it after a while. How else could you explain diabetics getting used to sticking themselves numerous times each day with needles?
Most of the dead soldiers are poverty stricken young men from places like Flint, Michigan and Clarksville, Ohio. But every now and then you come across a story that just doesn’t fit the mold. Our friend Ryan McGlothlin is one of those stories. I was friends with his brother, Nathan, back in elementary school. It was a strange friendship considering I lived in the Tony Childress trailer park and Nathan’s dad was a Circuit Court judge. Nonetheless, we were friends and I vaguely remember Ryan running around the house in pajamas.
What makes Ryan’s story so bizarre was his chosen path to military service. Ryan was the Valedictorian at Lebanon High School in Virginia. Unlike many Valedictorians’ in Southwest Virginia he refrained from attending the prestigious SVCC (Southwest Virginia Community College) and accepted a scholarship to William and Mary University. A W&M scholarship is a pretty good ticket if you can get it; tuition, and room and board for a year there will run about $10,000. Not only did he take the scholarship, he didn’t turn into some wild eyed drunk that drank Everclear out of unknown Rubbermaid trashcans like some people. Ryan ended up earning a degree in chemistry from the university.
Ryan’s impressive accomplishments didn’t stop there either. He received a fellowship in chemistry from Stanford University. Yes, that is the Stanford University with the stupid looking tree as a mascot. He became probably the first person form Southwest Virginia to earn a Masters Degree in Polymer Chemistry. Now I’m not sure what a degree in Polymer Chemistry encompasses, but I assume it’s a bit tougher to obtain than my cherished Social Studies degree from prestigious Radford University.
So, here comes this strapping young lad fresh out of Stanford University ready to conquer the world. I can’t even imagine the amount of hubris that accompanies that kind of success. It looked like he was all set for a fantastic career, 401(k)’s, stock options, multiple home ownerships, and everything the American Dream is today.
For some unknown reason Ryan decided to join the Marines. Please back up and read that again as I am not joking. Ok, did you re-read that last sentence? Here you have a young man with a degree in POLYMER CHEMISTRY from Stanford University willingly signing up to be dropped into a useless goddamn war in the middle of some godforsaken desert. Ryan’s parents must be different from mine because instead of being lauded for bravery my dad would have had me committed to the Indian Path Psych Ward until I came to my senses.
Read the rest of it at Stacynet.com
Coming Home for Christmas in a Bodybag

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