I took the boys to the Dulles Air and Space Museum today. It's one of their favorite places. Did you know that the real, live Enola Gay is housed there? I've seen it at least half a dozen times, and I'm still a little shocked and awed every time I look at it. It's suspended from the ceiling and you can look right inside the cockpit from the elevated walkway. I stare at it, wondering what Col. Tibbets was thinking right before he dropped the payload that would kill 70,000 people.
Sometimes, I have these days when I feel like my life is far too commonplace, and that I'm creating a commonplace life for my sons. Swim team, trips to the library and the museum, Legos, movie nights...we don't really do anything extraordinary most days.
I'm preoccupied with violent political upheaval, in a general, nonspecific sense, because I'm also preoccupied with the nature of ordinary, everyday life, and the former destroys the latter. I know that no two people have ever been alike, in the entire history of humanity; every single one of the seventy thousand people who perished when the Little Boy fell down on Hiroshima was unique. Every single one of the twenty million who disappeared into Kolyma, or Lefortovo, or Sukhanovka had a priceless and irreplaceable life. All of the people who were consumed and destroyed by every single Auschwitz, or Darfur, or fill in the blank manmade hell on earth of a killing field: what wouldn't they have given for one more day of blessed, ordinary life? God help me for ever being so ungrateful.