They wait until the sun sets on each Friday to meet. Its a tradition that has been meticulously followed for 14 years. Every friday evening, they meet at the local pub to discuss the week's news and events. Not for them the petty gossip that the wives spread around. They speak of matters of great significance. Global warming, the outsourcing debacle, the occupation of Iraq, the violence at Chechnya, the Israeli conflict, the Iranian question, the killers in Sudan, and other similar issues.
Over the years, their numbers have dwindled. There were 11 of them at the very beginning, 14 years back, when each of them had retired from the army. The best times of their lives behind them, each with memories of friends lost in battle. They survived wars, they survived youth, and middle age. Each now faced the evening of their lives, with equanimity. Each has a colorful story to tell, each has his own heroic tale, his own romance, his own tragedies and his own accomplishments. All water under the bridge, as they tell me. Today, the youth remember nothing, respect nothing and revere nothing. Their own progeny seem lost in the maze of consumerism, of petty urban oneupmanship, squabbling amongst others of their own generation, their lives amounting to nothing but credit card bills and mortgage payments. Each one of the 11 has been forged in the battle of life, has scars from their struggles with poverty and their life long duty of waging war against the nations enemies. Each one recognizes the value of life, and treasures every living moment. Each rememberes the ones that fell behind in the war against time. There were 11, and now there are 4. The 4 that remain still stand tall and proud. I salute you, Gang of Four....you know who you are.