Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Our American Soldier

I write this morning with some feelings of melancholy.  In my gaining years I seem to have more confrontations with my military past.  As a young man, 19 yrs old I faced the draft.  The original draft, not some lottery etc. WOW, what a sobering moment.  I remember the cold feeling when I opened the "Greetings" letter.  That moment became a four year part of my history and in many ways changed this young man's life.  Please do not fret, this article is not about my war or any problems associated with the Vietnam experience.

Our son just returned from his first six months stationed in South Korea.  As he entered the Army we were more than proud of his decisions.  I did my best to encourage the Navy, but he has a good head and made his decision.  I realized his decision was probably more difficult than my draft notice.  I did not have a choice while he was volunteering for service.     So off to the Army he goes. 

At basis graduation and later Calvary Scout Graduation, we saw an emerging man.  Gone were the soft parts from sleeping most of the day and working/playing till dawn.  Here was a man with the spirit, determination and respect not shown by many of his age.  However, the boy was still there in humor and feelings for others.  It seemed just moments had passed, he had excelled past many of his class who were drifting about with no goals or challenges.  He stood a young Soldier on the edge of his military service, who volunteered for this and has not complained.

During the first portion of his tour in S. Korea we had the joy of phone calls, emails, Facebook  and Skype contact with our Soldier. We can thank technology for the advances but much of the thanks goes to our Soldier who takes the time to call home, talk to his Mom and family.  This young Soldier does NOT call home to ask for money, a place to sleep, pay his phone bill, gas etc.  This young man is making his way while in a foreign country on the opposite side of this earth.

I am inspired to write this article in a new reality of respect for this Soldier but also the lack of respect for those of this age and community who sit by idly as if waiting for something to happen.  Grabbing the tail of life and riding it to the last burst of energy seems a better life than being swept along like a dry leaf in the fall winds.  This young Soldier is kicking the leaves, forging his way in life.

I sit writing this piece looking at photos of Sailor Bradley, Denise's young Father in his navy uniform serving aboard ship.  My father is displayed nearby as Sgt. Young, combat medic, WWII, having won several medals of valor, my adopted Uncle Wayne an Army Cook in Battle of the Bulge, standing alongside his young wife and my parents.  The men are gaunt after returning from Europe with over 3 years of combat.   They are proudly opening their first business in 1953.  There are many stories to tell about these men and women.

We will say goodbye to our Soldier in a few days for he like all good soldiers, returns to his duty in S. Korea.  He is blowing through this short time at home, once again past his "friends", enjoying his leave but knowing a return to duty awaits.  I am reminded that time at home is brief when serving in a foreign land.  A return to our house with the additional noise, chatter, comings and goings, barking dogs at the new person in the house is not a burden.  It seems to encourage this step father that a Son has returned home, continuing to grow into that man I and We respect.  Our Soldier commented on the many strangers who shook his hand and thanked him for serving his country as he flew home.  That is as it should be!  He seems a bit shy about this as he has not served in a war zone, yet.  But he serving all the same.  We are not forgetting our service men and women of his generation. 

Thanks to all who are and have served.  I hope to shake your hand and say "thank you". 

signed,  "An Old Vet"

No comments:

Post a Comment