Source: The Nation
In late September 2001, I was living in a tent in Lower Manhattan with the 2nd Battalion, 25th Marines, a reserve unit just outside the city. We were occupying Battery Park, which at the time served as the National Guard’s headquarters. “Guarding the guard,” we called it.
The two weeks I spent there were profoundly affecting. There I was, at the center of the world, watching America at its finest, showing at once nearly impossible perseverance and limitless compassion. Generosity sprouted everywhere throughout New York City; people gave out food, shoe inserts, massages, coffee, flowers, hugs, kind words and anything you needed. I told someone I liked Red Bull, and hours later he came to my tent, dragging a handcart with eight cases of the stuff. I would slip one under each of the other marines’ pillows while they slept, and when we woke up for guard duty I would say the Red Bull fairy had come.