I could relate to a lot of Mo's stories, as they reminded me of my early college days--meeting and befriending people from all over the country, drinking for the first time and the antics that ensue as a result, for example (a six-pack of Schlitz tall boys cost a mere $1.80 in Korea, which aided them in their efforts, but still, a lot was the same). There were many, however, that I couldn't begin to relate to.
Perhaps the most poignant part of our conversation came when Mo told us about the military's Roll Call. Roll call is a tradition practiced after a soldier dies. While in formation, the squad leader calls the deceased person's name three times as a reminder of their absence. No response is made. Just silence. There had been a memorial for the victims of the Fort Hood shooting the day before and Mo said he had to get up from his desk and walk away when he heard their version of the Roll Call begin. I got chills.
This experience, this blog, for me, is about trying new things and doing things I've never done before. This November 11th opened my eyes to a whole other side of someone I thought I knew pretty well.
Mo is the wacky Florida Gator fan who has dressed up like Santa Claus for work and organizes putt-putt outings and betting pools. But as I learned over Coronas this Veterans Day night, the life he has already led and the stories he can tell stretch far beyond football tailgates and trips to Las Vegas.
Sorry, Elizabeth, November 11th isn't just about you anymore. Thanks to Mo, it will now be about him, my dad and all of the veterans I know and don't know. Thank you for your service, thank you for sacrifices.