By now, I thought I’d be on my fifth Aston-Martin with the other four, starting with the DB-5, in my temperature controlled garage. I fell in love with that car when I sat in the Allerton Avenue movie theater in the Bronx and watched James Bond being cool above cool, ejecting bad guys out of the passenger seat.
Bond: “Ejector seat? You’re Joking!”
Q: “I never joke about my work, double oh seven.”
Well, apparently it was I who was joking. No Aston-Martins, yet. However, I did get to write books about other cool guys. Heroes, who are guided by an internal navigation, to do the right thing. Unlike Ian Fleming’s masterwork, Commander James Bond, my protagonists tend to be unwilling do-gooders. Usually thinking about something else when circumstances create the need for heroics or for good men and women to do something extraordinary.
It was a relatively short walk for Fleming to capture the essence of the confident hero, having gone through World War II as a British Naval Intelligence officer. If you know the Bond series, then you can see how much of it was based on his experiences, observations, and folklore of the very spy game of which he was a part.*
This weekend we honor other reluctant heroes. Those who gave their lives in service to America. Sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, fathers and moms, who answered the call to defend America. They did so with courage, bravery, and unselfishness. We should all take a moment this Memorial Day weekend and say thank you to those who gave up the balance of their lives so that ours may continue in peace, freedom, and prosperity. Even if it’s only a little gesture, like before you take a sip of beer or coke or a soy latte, just give a little toast, even silently, to those who gave all, for all of us; from Lexington and Concord, to The Trenches, to Iwo Jima, to The Arden Forrest, to DaNang, to Fallujah and right up to yesterday.
Here’s mine: To all of America’s brave war dead, thank you for giving up what I couldn’t ever imagine, willingly risking; every tomorrow, every human experience yet to be had and every love, relationship and offspring you never got to experience. All the good times you missed and the laughs, satisfactions and good cries that could have been. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid but also never forgotten. Here’s to you and God Bless America.
*One last note on Fleming, I was lucky that the DB5 was set up as my dream car because Ian also wrote, and I could have locked in on, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”