Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jan Brown

He was born to do this job.  If he could do it all over again and have a choice to have it happen the way it did or work at McDonald's and live to be 104?  He'd do it all over again.

Jan Brown was the mother of Kevin Houston, a Navy SEAL who was killed in a rocket attack in Afghanistan last summer.

In his review of Stephen Mitchell's new translation of the Iliad in the November 7, 2011 issue of the New Yorker, Daniel Mendelsohn points out how Jan Brown's words about her son's choice remind him of Achilles' choice of fame and glory instead of a long and peaceful life:
If I remain here 
And wage war against the city of Troy,  
I will never survive to go home, 
But my fame will be immortal. 
Yet if I leave here 
To return to my dear homeland, 
I shall have no noble fame, 
But my life will be long 

The shield of Achilles

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