Maybe I’ve mentioned this a few bajillion times before on my blog, but my older brother has been an active member of the US Army since June 2006. But we have a family history of Army veterans as my grandfather was in service for the Korean War and my uncle joined the army to help supplement his income to study for college. Then there are the countless people I know who are in about every branch of the military… friends I knew in high school, people I studied with in college and then the residual friends I’ve met when I was in Monterey the summer before last. I think about 80% of the guys I’ve met in my life are actively in the military.
So I know what it is like to have to hand write hundreds of letters to boost morale during basic training; what it is like to mail care packages to APOs; to hear about COs, deployments and see a uniform with the black flag and know that someone is going to be a long way from home.
The thing is, my SIL moved a few months ago with their son to be with him there after being a year apart. So I hear all about her moving and getting used to the new culture and I hear all about my older brother trying out new restaurants and loving everything about Korea. He really just seems like a student still, doing a few years abroad. I often forget that he’s there because of military service, that he gets trained with all sorts of weapons and it’s some serious stuff.
But then I find myself talking again to Army Blue Eyes and hear how he is training for a deployment to Afghanistan… and suddenly it will get to me. I remember when he deployed to Iraq how much my family cried and worried. My mother said that she probably shed more tears for him than his own mother. You see, this is a guy that has pretty much been adopted by my family. He’s one of my brother’s best friends and everyone just adores him. So the news is taken just as strongly as if we’d receive the news that my brother would be deployed to Afghanistan.
My SIL and I are saying we’re sad pandas. Someone we knew from Monterey was killed in Afghanistan this past Monday and when I heard the news, it was from Army Blue Eyes. This is how he said it to me.
It’s serious over there in Afghanistan lately. Someone I knew… who was trained where I was, who did what I am going to be sent to there for… was killed this week.
It was all I could do not to cry on the phone… but I know soldiers don’t want to see the tears. They will tell you that they will be alright. That it is what they are meant to do.
I couldn’t be prouder.
It’s afterwards.. when you are on your own and speaking with those that love that soldier too…
that the tears will finally flow.
So, this is to all those soldiers out there who have touched my life…
Know that you are in my heart and in my prayers-
Though life may have taken our paths in different directions.