At the supermarket earlier this evening, I was standing next to a tall (I’d guess 5′11″), conventionally beautiful, and physically powerful-looking brunette in a sleeveless blouse. A tattoo on her right arm read “USMC,” so I asked her whether it was she herself or perhaps a relative or friend who had been in the Corps. She said it had indeed been she — for eight years. I stammered out some words of thanks for her service to our country, and we went our ways. It brought home to me how rarely, living in Manhattan, I get to meet service men and women (consciously, that is; I’m always delighted when somebody I know only as a civilian reveals a past in our armed forces). It was great to receive an unexpected reminder that some of our neighbors — just folks right next to us in supermarket lines — have put their lives on the line to keep the American Experiment going (and of course many others are still doing so right now): something to remember if some votes don’t go the right way, or some disputed deadlines aren’t met, and there grows a temptation to despair. The great Churchill quote may still be valid: “America will always do the right thing, but only after exhausting all the other options.” We haven’t exhausted the other options quite yet.