What I Learned This Week

I’ve been a little slacking in the blogging world this past week.  Between 2 sick kids and my cousin visiting from Florida it just seemed like I didn’t have time to really sit down and write anything.

But I’m determined to jump back in with Jo-Lynne’s carnival this week.

What I learned this week is that no matter how many times I discuss things with my girls like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day or 9-11 or hear Taps or the Star Spangled Banner, I will always tear up and my voice will crack.  The first time I remember this happening was during my junior year in high school.  My boyfriend at the time was a year older and getting ready to graduate and was enlisted in the Marines.  For some reason knowing that he was willing to enlist and live that life, despite the difficulties we had in our relationship, I knew he could see the bigger picture and it touch something in me.  There are times when I wish I didn’t get that lump in my throat, but I’m so very thankful to those who have been selfless enough to enter into the military life.  I am going to be in D.C. next month, and I am planning on going to Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  I’ve been there before, but I not since my heart has opened itself to understanding the true sacrifice others have made for this country.

For more history on my experience with the military keep reading.  If not, feel free to move on back to Jo-Lynne’s and see what others have learned this week.

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I was raised a military brat, but I had it easy.  My dad retired from the Public Health Service which is considered a Uniformed Service not an Armed Service.  Essentially what this meant was that he was afforded all the perks of the military without having the downfalls such as deployments or dealing with chain of command.  We were never stationed at a military base; although, on two of the moves there were bases in the vicinity.  We moved every 2 years from the time I was 5 until I was 11.  The hardest part of this was leaving my friends every couple of years.

So when Traveler decided that he needed a change and that change was going to be the military, I was up for the challenge.  After all, I knew military life.  I understood the lingo and could talk the talk.

My deep understanding of how much we owe our VOLUNTEER military came at 9-11.  At this point Traveler hadn’t traveled much.  Since Tech school and basic training we hadn’t been apart for more than 5 weeks, and since SmartyPants was born he hadn’t been gone for more than a week at a time.  We were spoiled.  When 9-11 happened we were in Idaho and just starting our search for a house.  Traveler was planning on fulfilling his 4-year enlistment the following April and going back to school.  While sitting in a hotel room in Boise watching the Twin Towers fall, my heart sank…for many different reasons.  One of which was that I didn’t know if the Air Force would let T out.  In the military there is something called Stop-Loss.  This happens when a certain career field has low numbers and they can’t afford to lose anyone.  Essentially the forces-that-be tell say that you can’t get out even if your enlistment is up.  Since Traveler’s job was one of low-manning already, he was stop-lossed.  9-11 created the atmosphere of deployment.  We had decided that he would get out because there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity to go anywhere unless he did a 1-year unaccompanied tour in Korea – which neither of us wanted.  So the thought of him being deployed for an unknown length of time INTO harm’s way (I had just found out I was pregnant with Sass), was really unappealing for both of us.  So T applied for a Stop-Loss waiver asking to be discharged.  Amazingly enough this went through.

I will never forget how much sacrifice military families make.  It is not only the person who is active duty and signed the dotted line.  It affects all those who are a part of that person’s life.  The spouse, the children, the siblings, the parents and grandparents.  I have a feeling our time is coming and it scares me, but at the same time if T’s name is called, he wouldn’t hesitate.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Our neighbor just got back from a year’s deployment in Iraq. He has 4 kids. It is a HUGE sacrifice these men and women make. Thanks for reminding us of that!

  2. Thanks for this reminder…well said! Don’t ever apologize or feel embarrassed by that ‘lump in the throat’. Those who have never experienced that feeling are missing something very dear in their lives. After living overseas with DH’s career…I always felt like getting down and kissing the ground when we were able to come HOME!

    Bless you, sweetie,
    Susan

  3. One of Jerrod’s West Point buddies is back in Irag – for the 3rd or 4th time. And he has 3 kids. He’s gone for a year. I don’t know how they do it!

    Oh, and on an totally different note, if you guys want to come stay for weeks and ruin my carpet, you are more than welcome! 🙂

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