Happy Veterans day!
This morning I was rummaging through the front closet, searching for my flag. There were too many coats and backpacks taking up space, and like a jungle safari, I had to cut through the growth to find it buried in the back. Today I will fly my flag in honor of all those who serve our country. I am forever grateful for those who are willing to sacrifice their time, families, and often careers to serve in the military. I am no respecter of divisions. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, they are all needed.
To be perfectly honest I haven't known a lot of "military" in my life. My father, Grandfathers', and brothers' all missed major conflicts. My husband's father and his grandfathers' were in the Vietnam war and World War II respectively. But I had a dream a few years ago that really changed my attitude towards those that wear the uniform and made me feel like I knew what it was like to be deep in the trenches, if for only a few minutes.
A forewarning and a promise: I have a lot of dreams. And they are usually weird, but I vow not to dig them up and display them on these pages unless they are poignant. This one is poignant. Really.
So I had this dream one night that my family and I were at a restaurant, say something like Texas Reds, and we were talking and laughing, and eating (of course), and having a great time. I looked over my shoulder and spied two Army guys dressed in fatigues silently staring into their beers at the bar, and I wondered what it was like for them to return from combat and be thrown back into a normal society. And like an answer to a question I was suddenly whisked into their world.
And it was scary.
Not ghost and goblins scary, but like my life might end with one wrong turn-- the unknown lurking just around the corner-- scary. And it felt so real! A dusty hot street in Afghanistan, an old rusted out car careening down the dirt road, windows broken, garbage strewn, a fowl smell of burnt garbage in the air, a few turban wrapped men following me, and fear thumping in my ears so loud I couldn't hold a normal conversation. I don't know when I've ever been so vulnerable. Fear gripped me so real and so raw I believed there was no way out. Granted I hadn't had any of their training, and that could be where my fear stemmed from, but all I can say is I wanted out of there and fast! I pulled a Henry Fleming from Red Badge of Courage and hid in an empty building until I found an elevator, and was quickly whisked back to the USA. It led me to a parking garage of a shopping mall. Women with their bags of treasures, laughing and talking leisurely with their children or friends, unaware of the dangers lurking on the other side of the elevator. The change was jolting.
I stood there telling them about my harrowing experience. It wasn't just the dangers that I wanted to warn them of, but the utter poverty and despair amongst the people.
Images seered into my heart.
They smiled politely, but did not listen. I gave up and returned to the restaurant, this time standing alongside the two military personnel, my feet rooted to the floor, unwilling to leave their sides, like I understood now. It was a dark feeling. A lonesome feeling, and as I glanced around at the hoards of happy people, I wondered if they had any idea the price that had been paid for their freedom. Then I turned inward. Did I have any idea? What gratitude had I shown these men and women? Had I ever thanked any of them? Didn't I take our wealth and prosperity for granted also?
I know it was a dream. But I have never looked at those in uniform the same again. Honestly. I don't mean to talk out of my neck, cause I recognize that I don't really know what it is like, but for some time after my dream, I felt a common bond with them. "Hey I had a dream I was in Afghanistan last night. I know just how you feel." Hmmm. Okay, maybe not so much, but it was as close to it as I've ever come.
So on this Veterans day I wish to say God bless our Military, God bless the U S of A and God bless each of us that we will be worthy of his guiding hand.
Do you have an experience you'd like to share? Some one you'd like to honor today? I'd love to hear your comments!