TEN YEARS LATER #1  The Serving Observatorianist
Photo #1 Jim and Candi Spiri serving Thanksgiving dinner to hundreds in Albuquerque, NM in November of 2011
It is February 15th. I am in an airport on my way to Afghanistan, one more time.  The most common question lately to me is, “Why  go again?”  The answer is elusive at times but always in my being.  It is a matter of serving those who serve.  Ten years ago, my younger son Jimmy, was a door-gunner on Chinook helicopters and was in Afghanistan.  He subsequently saw  quite a bit of action specifically during what is now known as, “Operation Anaconda”.  During that time I remember vividly being  up late at night scouring all the news information I could about what was going on.  I knew it was serious.  As was any father, I  was on pins and needles that entire time of late 2001 into most of 2002.  It’s been ten years now since that time.  I visited  Afghanistan in 2010 the first time, and now I go again.  Truth be known, I go again to honor my younger sons service and to be in  Afghanistan at a time that I know is a turning point in history.    This time I go for the love of my son, the love of my country and especially the love of my home state, New Mexico.  I will begin  by embedding with a medevac unit from the New Mexico National Guard whose mission I am familiar with.  I figured at this time  in my life and at this specific time in the war in Afghanistan, I would convey to the audience what kind of folks come from the  place I call home…The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico.   Since my last journey, I’ve come to realize that the word serving in our language has many connotations.  In all my travels I have  been the guest of those who are serving.  This past November, I and my wife Candi decided that on Thanksgiving we would find a  place and serve meals.  The photo above is of that experience.  From that day forward, I’ve really come to understand a deeper  meaning of what it is to serve while being served.  As always, I am blessed in everything I do.  This journey, this time, will be a  serving as well as being served both coming and going.  During the entire experience, I will do my best to convey what crosses  my path.  In late night research preparing for this journey, I came across a new word in my vocabulary which I want to share with the  audience.  The word describes what my profession or career is.  When I came upon this word, I decided to latch onto it and make  it a part of this journey.  The word is: OBSERVATORIANIST…it is a noun.  The exact definition in English is: “one who has been  located to a specific vantage point to convey experiences”.  This is what I do.  It is my job then to bring to you all what has been  placed before me.  I like my job.  It is really an honor to do such a thing at such a critical time in history.  As I close on this first writing of the journey called, “Ten Years Later”, I look back on all the things that my own son has gone  through during his Army career.  He has lost several friends due to war.  He’s gone many places in the Army having started in  New Mexico.  Now he is a pilot flying the same CH47’s he once was a door-gunner on. He’s home now teaching others how to fly  helicopters.  Truth is, he has taught me much about those who serve our country.  I did not serve in the military.  I sent both my sons.  Now it is my turn once again to serve those who have been serving me for  the past ten years during this time of war.  The audience this time is like those my wife and I served Thanksgiving dinner to this  past November.  All were thankful as they were served.  Truth be known, it was the servers that were most thankful and most  blessed.  Welcome to “Ten Years Later” by Jim Spiri, from New Mexico to Afghanistan and to places unknown.  Now serving number…  EVERYBODY.  Jim Spiri  jimspiri@yahoo.com 
Photo #2  Jim Spiri, Sr., and Jimmy Spiri Jr. 
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