The marksmanship instructors check the line, double checking each rifle. It is time to move back, another hundred yards. The sun is fully up now, the temperature rising through the 90s. There is more to do at 300 yards, and then at 500. Iron sights on an M-16 at 500 yards. Two weeks ago, it seemed impossible. Today, some recruit will shoot a perfect score at that distance.We'd both been blogging perhaps a month, and somehow had discovered each other's musings. He had moved from New England to Carolina; I was still a POMM (Prisoner Of Mother Massachusetts). But we both recognized a shared spirit, a shared love of freedom. That was a World Age ago for me. A different epoch.
Zeke42 left a comment on that post, saying that I should go to an Appleseed shoot. Then, that was only a dim hope for the future. Now that future dawns tomorrow. ASM826 has watched that journey, and helped along the way (he's quite a good shooting instructor, if you are ever lucky enough to find yourself shooting with him). Others of you have watched, too, offering repeated and patient encouragement. Thanks, and I will be thinking of you while I'm on the firing line tomorrow.
I'll also think of Dad. We didn't grow up shooting, but he was proud of how he had qualified Expert back at Ft. Ord. I sure wish he was here. But I know what he would say - and you, too: At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what you score. America will have another Rifleman, at least in the way that counts. Hopefully two, as I'm taking #2 Son. A quintessentially American tradition continues.
That seemed impossible, those many years and miles ago. Epoch change is Epic.