Monday, November 01, 2010


Wayne Miller was, and is, a Legend. I say this not just because of his incredible exploits on the battlefield, but because of how I know him. I know him through the stories about him. Most of these stories are flashy and violent and classified by the U.S. government, but the stories that formed my real connection to him are about who he was as a man. The stories of working with his own hands, of living with simplicity, and of being direct and honest. I may be romanticizing things, but I see the aspirations I hold for myself in him.

I saw him, this Saturday, and though his body is still alive, his life is finished. I think if he had the coherency to think about it he would agree with me. I also think, as does my mother, that he would be staunchly opposed to the agonizing extension of his mortality that he's undergoing, but it's not my place to do anything about that.

There is another Legend I faced this weekend, and that is the legend of my ancestry. I draw on this a lot, and my connection to those who preceded me is something that is continuously important to me. The truth of these people, when I see them in person, stands in stark contrast to the legend. But this is the truth of what it means to have nobility. One's bloodline is only a measure of ones potential. It means that I too can be Legendary, and it means that I could fall just as far as my uncle Kelly.

And this is the lesson of the Legend of Wayne Miller. I can talk about him doing simultaneous ambidextrous marksmanship, but that story would be incomplete if I didn't mention that he had been handling a firearm since he was a child. The peerless warrior and the simple man are one in the same. It is that simplicity, that patient honest work that made him as skilled as he was. He was born with tremendous potential, but it was the lifetime of effort that made him legendary.


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