You’ll be thrilled to know that things at the IEEE meeting I was not attending turned out marvellously. Sometimes other people simply rock! And sometimes things work out.
Anyhoo, let’s go back to the Sydney airport, just after I bought my Swatch. We toddled on over to our gate, but it was blocked off. Odd. Just to the left of the gate, a security guard stood, looking out the window. And that’s when we noticed what was happening outside. An Australian soldier in Iraq was killed, and the morgue originally returned the wrong body to Australia, mixing him up with the body of a Kuwaiti worker. What we were witnessing was the actual return of the Private Jake Kovco, 25, to his unit in Sydney. After autopsy (the circumstances surrounding his death - he died from his own gun - are a little mysterious), his body was to be returned to his hometown near Melbourne. It was very somber to witness the procession, led by a religous official, casket carried by members of the unit while the rest stood at attention in two rows on either side. To see the soldier’s mother being led to a car (Pvt. Kovco also had a wife and two young children, but they may have been hidden from our view) was heart-breaking. We hear of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sometimes the names and numbers and causes blur together in our world of insta-news. But this was perfectly clear. And cause for reflection, on life and death and war.
I think I’m going to leave this at here for now. Im uploading pics as I type… they should be there soon.