Nine years ago I had a dream that I recounted in my journal. Here are the details:
I am back in the National Guard, and our unit is patrolling the abandoned ruins of an old prison. The cells are dilapidated brick walls and iron rusted bars opened long ago by the elements. It is like a combination of Alcatraz and Pompeii. The sun beats down on us all heavy and hot. Notwithstanding the boots we wear the pebbles are burning into our feet.
The Guard unit is supposed to march like it is patrolling a city. We are in the enormous courtyard with the broken brick walls on either side. Every time we approach what used to be an intersection in the courtyard, we are supposed to send a street guard forward to hold back any “traffic.” There is no real traffic, of course, but discipline requires that we do this. We do not, and indeed we do not even maintain our basic formation. There is no semblance of order as we wander down the courtyard with heavy gear and rations on our backs.
I approach one of the sergeants. I explain that I had attended Officer Candidate School. Though I had not graduated on account of an injury, I learned how to march properly in formation. We need to get these soldiers to do the same. Instead of letting me lead the men, the sergeants make excuses for them.