Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sadness and rage

I was trying not to think about it too much, and hadn't intended to post anything about it...until I got an email from a friend about it. He was pissed!!! As I responded to his email this afternoon, I started thinking about it again. I thought about it all the way home from work and knew that I wasn't going to be able to think about anything else until I got it off my chest...so.....

I heard the news this morning...that the two Soldiers who had been missing for three days had been found dead, and that they had been tortured barbarically. My heart sank...and I immediately thought of their families. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about the torture and knew that their families must be hurting something awful. To think that their last moments were spent being tortured...I can't even begin to express my thoughts on that. I started thinking about how I would have felt if it had been Seth and it hurt so bad. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry and scream.

But then, the pain passed and I got pissed. I found myself thinking about how badly I want our guys over there to kick some insurgent asses because of this. I want them to find every one of those freaking cowards and put them out of their misery. That's not exactly a "motherly" thought, is it...but it's an honest one.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Who's your daddy??

My dad, being the first man in my life...and one of the hardest acts for any guy to follow...has always held a special place in my heart. He, of course, is the one responsible for my patriotic feelings; he put the worm on my hook when we went fishing; he picked me up and held me above his head to see over a crowd; he went looking for the snake that almost got me when I was running along the trail in the woods behind our house; he shared his steak with me when my head barely reached over the top of the table; he let me hang out with him and my brothers when they played sports; he taught me that honesty and keeping your word are two of the most important traits a person can have by setting that example for me (he's the most honest person I've ever met); he went "hunting," literally, for someone who tried to hurt me once (all I can say is that guy's lucky the police found him first); he's always been there when I needed someone to talk to; he never judges me or says "I told you so" when I make mistakes (and there have been many of those); he makes me laugh; he's always been my biggest fan; and I could go on and on because there's so much more...but I think you get the picture...I'm a very lucky girl.

Happy Fathers Day, dad...I love you..... :)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Honored and humbled

When I was in Paris, I got to spend quite a bit of time with my big boss from Illinois - our publisher and company president. Working out of different offices in different states has kept our conversations limited to the phone, emails, and the couple of times a year our paths cross on business trips. He's a family man with 4 sons, ranging in age from 29 to 8. They're all doing well - the oldest one graduated from college and now has a great job; the next oldest is in college; the number 3 son just graduated from high school and has been accepted at a very good college; and the youngest is all about baseball and sports. All great guys!!!

My boss is great, too. He's been especially supportive when it comes to my two military boys. He's always asking about how they're doing, especially Seth. While we were in Paris, every time my boss introduced me to someone he knew, he would tell them about my sons and about Seth being in Iraq. I was a little bit embarrassed by this, but flattered at the same time because he thought so much of my boys when he'd never even met them. But I didn't realize just how much he thought of them until we were sitting at a small cafe one night having a drink before calling it quits for the night.

As we sat there talking, he suddenly got very serious and said, "Your boys are the future of our country." I was a bit taken aback by his comment, but said, "Not any more so than your boys are." His next comment left me speechless. He said if his two oldest sons were asked to serve in the military, they'd probably head for Canada. Then he said that the one just graduating from high school might serve, maybe, if he had to, and that the youngest one probably would, if asked, because he thought he'd done a better job raising him. Then he went on to say that my boys had volunteered to serve, and that they were the kind of people who would keep our country great.

Wow!!! I never expected that and I think I sat there with my mouth hanging open for a minute or two. I couldn't think of anything to say. Shoot, what can you say after something like that?? I can't fully describe my feelings at that moment, but I didn't think it was possible to feel so honored and so humbled at the same time.

Okay, that being said, let me put things into perspective where my boys are concerned. When I told Seth what my boss said about them, he laughed and said, "Yeah, I'm the next George Bush and Kevin is the next Condoleeza Rice." .....Alllllrighty then...there's a reality check for ya..... :)

Friday, June 09, 2006

I've been thinking a lot lately.....

I know...that can be dangerous...especially where I'm concerned...but, after Memorial Day, I couldn't help but think.

Last year, Memorial Day was very emotional for me. Maybe it was knowing that my son would be deploying later in the year, or maybe it was having a friend who had served in Iraq and lost some friends there. I never really figured out why, but everything made me cry. All the news stories and the specials on TV were poignant and touching...so I was in tears for weeks.

This year, however, was completely different. Other people's lack of remembering what the day was all about really pissed me off. It's not a "holiday" to celebrate, it's a "day of remembrance," and it really made me mad that so many people forgot that...but, I already covered that in my last post so I'll spare you the rant again.

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot lately...about why people can be so far removed from what's going on in Iraq and Afghanistan...about how they can put the sacrifices that so many soldiers have made over the years out of their minds. I've been wondering if I'd be the same way if it weren't for my sons and friend.

Most who read this are connected to the war in some way...either through family or friends or having been there/done that. We have a personal stake in what's going on. But since we have a volunteer military now, there are far more people who don't have that personal connection. So, I began to wonder just how disconnected I'd be under those circumstances. That's one of the reasons I haven't posted in a while...I've been trying to sort things out in my mind. But you know what I discovered?? I'd still feel the same way I do now.

Long before my sons joined the military, we flew the flag in our yard on all the patriotic days like Memorial Day, Flag Day, the 4th of July, Veterans Day, etc. During the Gulf War, I followed the news everyday to see what was going on. After the September 11th attacks, I watched everything I could find about our progress in the fight. And there's just something about men in uniform that has always caught my eye...oh, sorry, I got off the track there a little bit..... :) Anyway, I don't think I've changed at all in the way I feel about our country and our troops. It has however, become more personal now...and I have become much more vocal about my feelings and am always ready to set someone straight. That much has changed. On my latest business trip, I very nicely told someone who felt like we weren’t making any progress in Iraq that the troops who were there were telling a different story. He changed the subject after that...... :)

Once again, I have to credit my dad for rearing us right and for teaching us to be patriots. It’s funny...I sat next to a young man on a flight home this week who was in the Air Force and on his way to San Antonio. He’d just made Staff Sergeant in the spring and was headed to 7-level school at Lackland AFB. After we talked for a while, he said, “You come from a military family, don’t you?” That stopped me dead in my tracks. At first I said, “No, not really,” but then I thought about it for a while. I had always thought of military families as the families of those who are career military for 20 or more years. My dad was in the Marines during WWII, but only for four years and that was long before any of us kids were born or even thought about. My two youngest sons are active-duty military and have both reinlisted, but neither has decided to make a career of it. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s not the length of time...it’s the frame of mind. I finally told him that I guessed I was from a military family...and I couldn’t help but smile when I said it.