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.