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Wingman To The Angels

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Wingman

To The

Angels

By Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I can die a happy man !

I don’t have a son.

I don’t have a grandson.

I had the honor of any father or grandfather, as I stood and walk alongside my nephew in his commencement exercise.

“What Mothers Do” – Lanail Saldana holds a graduation gown, while Marife Saldana Roa, the mother of Glen Roa, checks the precise alignment of the flower on her son, Glen’s graduation gown before commencement exercises. Canon 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

I walked alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, on the day that he underwent a monumental turning point in his life.

March 29, 2012, I strolled alongside my nephew, Glen Roa, in his formal graduation procession of the Juan Villablanca National High School, in Pastrana, in the Republic of the Philippines.

The joy inside my heart, mind and soul, I describe as, being promoted to the rank of “Seraphim” and given the opportunity to fly Combat Air Patrol off of the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

As a writer, monumental moments in my life, I always put on paper or place in my electronic journals, the “Sam I Am Blog” and my “Samuel Warren The Writer” blog.

A writer feels emotions like his fellow man and fellow woman, but, a writer has the passion to translate that emotion into words and to commit it to print for future generations.

For me, walking alongside Glen in his commencement exercise gave me a supreme sensation of pride that could only be explained as being assigned to the military ranks of the Heavenly Host.

What greater tribute could there be in the Afterlife for a military man or woman than to be designated a “Seraphim” and authorized to fly alongside the Archangels ?

I am not a religious man. I try to be a spiritual man.

This event, gave me, the Pride, to feel like I had the honor to serve: as “Wingman To The Angels.”

“The Walk” — Samuel E. Warren Jr., strolls alongside, Glen Roa, his nephew, in the formal procession on Glen’s Graduation Day. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Christy Warren.

The nature of the ceremony, obviously, made the day a monumental moment in Glen’s life.

The day was obviously – “Glen’s Day.”

Glen Roa accepts Communion at the church, before joining his fellow students in the formal graduation procession to the auditorium. Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

However, Glen’s American uncle felt the tremendous positive energy flowing from the universe into the graduates, their parents and relatives.

A magnificent, positive energy that reminds people, you can change the world, you can move mountains. You simply need the faith in yourself and your convictions to move you along the path to greatness.

I stood next to Glen and felt like one of God’s Seraphim standing on a majestic mountain peak bathed in golden sunlight. The rays of the sun, moved along my angelic breastplate and tunic. My wings opened to the sunlight. I stood ready to serve in the immortal ranks of The Heavenly Host.”

My feet stood in the Real World on the soil of the Republic of the Philippines, but, my imagination takes flight. I draw my sword and spread my wings. At altitude, I bank in the sunlight and fly through the ranks of the seraphim. I soar and sail among the formation of the archangels and move into position to fly off the left wing of Saint Michael, the Archangel.

Today, I am Saint Michael’s Wingman.

Back in the Real World, I stand alongside Glen. The sweltering heat and sunlight reaches the point that it is uncomfortable to just be standing outside. Yet, Glen stands in the long white line of students selected to graduate.

“The Long White Line ” — boys and girls in caps and gowns move along the route of the commencement exercise procession toward the goal of graduate. Photo by Christy Warren.

I have always been a persistent, passionate writer. When I pick up my camera for a news or important photography situation, I enter my Michelangelo mindset and try to figure out how I will be able to capture a photo that will remain a moving work of art to stand the test of time. The photography mindset is never a conscious act as much as a mental urge to be in the right place, at the right time, to capture a moment of history to stand the test of time.

My calling in life had always been to be the best reporter and photographer that it is humanly possible for me to be.

My writer’s mind, tells me God and Saint Michael, took the necessary actions to move me to this point in time.

In November 1988, I reported to Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines. I was a single American G.I., in pursuit of the dream of earning a Pulitzer Prize for writing or photography. Born a Texan and raised an Ozarks country boy, my ambition in life was to be a world-renowned photojournalist.

Life is an assignment that takes a serious of missions to put you in the right position to attain success and contentment. On duty, in the Real World, the United States Air Force would issue orders that would take Christy and I to Japan, Alabama and finally to retirement in Missouri.

Mount Pinatubo’s noxious sulfur fumes had changed the blanket of air over Clark Air Base into the pungent, persistent, almost choking stench of “rotten eggs.”

The slight shudder of the earth beneath your feet in February had grown to an intensity that seemed Mother Earth was being racked with strong contractions like a woman in labor by the month of May.

Before the rebirth of Mount Pinatubo into a volcano, Christy and I had taken the military orders and landed in Japan.

Mount Pinatubo had been nature’s “bunker buster bomb blast” that severed all Real World communications between Christy and her family in the Republic of the Philippines.

The status of all Christy’s relatives were “Unknown” – Missing In Action.

In a matter of days, Mount Pinatubo had devastated a section of a nation with a force usually displayed by nations at war.

And, the aftermath of Mount Pinatubo’s action, took 21 years for Christy to finally locate and determine the fate of her family in the Philippines. Marife and Ramon had had their own families.

With communications reestablished the Warrens in the United States and the Saldanas in the Philippines were becoming a family separated by a body of water called the Pacific Ocean.

Like United States Army General Douglas MacArthur, Christy Warren was determined to “Return To The Philippines.” General MacArthur had a mission. Christy Warren had family in the Philippines.

Glen adjusts his robe and straightens his mortarboard graduation cap, I smile and realize that at last Life had brought us to this point.

Glen, the young man, had grown up hearing stories about his “Tita Christy and Tito Sam.” Since our return to the Philippines, he had seen we were not fictional characters, but real people.

My grandfather, Joseph Samuel Warren, had been an East Texas farmer. My father, Samuel E. Warren, had served in the European Theater of Operations and the Pacific Theater of Operations, during World War II. Dad had earned two Silver Stars and assigned to the United States Army Signal Corps had installed some of the first telephone lines through the jungles of the Republic of the Philippines, during the war.

Glen had told his mom, he wanted to join the military. I hope the stories of my dad’s military service had inspired Glen to understand that military service is a calling of patriotism and compassionate devotion to one’s fellow citizens.

Glen’s confident smile reminded me of my exciting days at Clark Air Base back in the late 1980s. I looked at Glen and was reminded of General Fidel V. Ramos. I had been fortunate enough to take a photo of General Ramos on one of his visits to Clark.

When I arrived at Clark in the 1980s, I landed in the Philippines in the aftermath of the EDSA People Power Revolution and it was an exciting time.

The Global News Media had labeled former President Ferdinand Marcos an “evil dictatorial strongman.” Since President Marcos had always been a reliable and devoted ally to the United States Government in the Pacific and Asia, people in the Philippines were suspicious of the United States Government and most all Americans.

Life in the Philippines had became a constant topic for the global news media. Since the revolution in 1986, the world watched to see what would happen in the Philippines.

Corazon Aquino, a housewife and widow, had become the President of the Republic of the Philippines. While President Aquino had been educated for a few years in the United States, Americans as a rule, really knew nothing about the new president.

At Clark, we performed out military duties and wondered if we would get orders to pack up and head for “home” – the United States. In 1988 and 1989, I went to work each day in a country that was in transition as a new government established itself. It seemed everyday the international news media had stories of political intrigue originating from the Philippines.  Americans back home in the United States were confused about the news coming out of the Philippines. 

Every couple of weeks I would call my mother back in the United States, who would usually be upset because she had seen television coverage about the actions of the New People’s Army and had seen on television and in newspapers the coverage of protests demanding “Get US troops out of the Philippines” and, of course, the television footage was always shot outside of Clark or Subic on the days that protestors showed up, a few minutes before the global news media arrived with their television cameras and radio microphones.

I remember seeing a photo of General Juan Ponce Enrile, in uniform, on the cover of “Time” magazine. Despite the news going on around us at Clark, the names of two prominent Filipino generals always seemed to emerge in a positive light: General Juan Ponce Enrile and General Fidel Ramos.

I looked at my nephew, Glen and wondered if he would rise in life to have the admiration and respect of his comrades in arms like General Fidel Ramos. Then, we began walking in the procession toward the auditorium.

In my writer’s mind I had been elevated to the position of “Wingman To The Angels.” In the Real World, my nephew, Glen walked the symbolic pathway that led him through the doorway to decide which path he would take in life.

Glen Roa, steps to center stage, during his commencement exercises to accept his diploma. Samuel E. Warren Jr., his uncle. crosses behind him to stand beside him on the stage. Canon EOS 40 D Photo by Samuel E. Warren Jr.

He stepped on to the stage and bowed to the audience.

I stood at his side and bowed.

As we stepped off the stage, I was confident, that Glen would be a young man, who would make a name for himself, and serve his fellow citizens.

To the reporters of “USA Today,” the “New York Times,” the “Washington Post,” “Time,” “Newsweek,” the “Manila Bulletin,” the “Philippine Daily Inquirer” the “Philippine Star,” Reuters and the Associated Press, I would suggest, “Get your cameras ready,” my nephew, Glen Roa, is a young man, who will make headlines and history.

Congratulation, Glen !

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Written by samwarren55

May 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM

Posted in Bloggers, Blogs, Current Events, Editorial, Family, Leyte, Observances, Philippines, Photos, Tourism, Tropics, Vacation

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