Monday, May 28, 2012

Service v. Sacrifice

Today is Memorial Day, and as I have for the past 3 years, I will spend it with the children, at home.  We will BBQ.  We will, as we do every day, have D on our minds.  One of my old (M and I have known each other since he was jail-bait; he now has a wife and child Boychik’s age) friends posted something in regards to Memorial Day.  Because he’s a Marine (once and always – never former or ex) I mentioned my family’s living Marines.  He thanked me for my family’s sacrifice.
That kinda stopped me.  So many others, those that aren’t closely involved with the military in one way or another wouldn’t understand this.  Being in the military, or public service such as police, EMS, or fire IS sacrifice, not just service.  But in all honestly, I really think that the military has it a wee bit harder…
My father is still alive.  He served the Marines during the Viet Nam conflict, driving trucks in Da Nang.  I’m not sure if I still have some of his pictures.  Although he was “in the rear, with the gear,” he was still in a combat area.  He told me about being escorted en mass to the airport rest rooms by an NCO so that he and the other Marines he had made it back with could change into civvies.  For his service, his sacrifice, he suffered a nervous break-down, a broken marriage, and social awkwardness that he’s never been able to shake.
My brother J went into the Marines to leave home.  He excelled, as we all knew he would.  While on leave in Australia, September of 2001, the locals went out of their way to get the Sailors and Marines back to the boats.  He spent the next season at a horrible place called Camp Rhino.  He, like our father, doesn’t talk about his service much.  What he did say is that you haven’t lived till you’ve taken a canteen shower by moonlight with 200 of your closest friends.  J’s sacrifice was to miss out on the first 6 years of his son’s life, and the last few good years of our mother’s.
All of you already know what D has given up.  This is my wailing wall, so to say.  So while you’re getting drunk, having fun cooking with fire, or out on the lake, remember families like mine.  Remember the families and service members that SACRIFICE family time, knowing their children, sanity, limbs, and for some, THEIR LIVES so that you and yours may feel safe in your beds, or fill the ranks so there’s no need to draft your sons.
And for those of you that are so against conflict, think on the fact that service members go where they’re sent, do what they’re told, and, for many, if there were a job or college fund option, would not have joined.  Our military isn’t “full of mindless, violent killers that love their job;” it is full of men like my father, my brother, my husband, and L’s husband.  Men and women that would much rather be at a BBQ with their loved ones than in places where the majority want to kill them.

I will now return to the mindless gibbering,
potty training complaints, disbelief of my husband
random fuckery that you all know and love.

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