(Once again I was not able to get internet access until well after midnight.)
It seems like most of what I want to write these days involves the military. Partly because this war is giving me flashbacks and also prompted by an interesting email conversation I have been having with Sara.
Like many people I talk to I am torn over the war issue. I have my Bachelor's in Political Science, specifically foreign policy. So even though I have not kept up as closely as I should, the knowledge of the history is there. And I can not shake 23 years in the Army of my total 31 years of life. It is as much a part of my culture as someone else's ethnic background. I feel a strong bond with the military and was raised to support our government. But I also hate war. I recognize that sometimes it is absolutely necessary. I just wish I felt better about this one. I can not trust the reasons we are there now. I have difficulty not meeting the latest facts on weapons intelligence with scepticism. I studied war and it's effects extensively and see the horror in my mind during all the news reports. It is a difficult place to be seeming as though you are forced to choose sides. I don't know. But I will support the troops until the last ones come home.
My father thing is a whole different story. He is conservative and I am liberal. I think we respect each other's opinions well. He supports our government and I support people's rights to protest the war. We respectfully disagree. I was not alive when he was in Vietnam. But over the course of my lifetime I get tidbits. Mostly from my mother who was 19 with a newborn when my dad shipped out. He does not speak of it directly to me. He does not brag or romanticize any of it. I must have been in my 20s when I found out that he was a hero. That he had been decorated for bravery and saved lives. He is proud of his service to his country, a choice he made at 20. A career for 30 years. But he has never been able to go to The Wall. To read the names of the men he knew so well. The men who he led and who's faces he says he remembers. Every single one of them. I have been several times. I go for him. I stand in awe and cry for him. And I cry with pride that he was a part of those men's histories.
All my life I never really knew what he did for a living , it was complicated. When he commanded a battalion I would go the day the new recruits showed up. Watch them get their heads shaved and walk out with their Army issue supplies. I went to their graduations and saw their parents' amazement and pride at what their sons had grown into. They would run up to my father and thank him with tears in their eyes. But I already knew my father was capable of greatness. I was his daughter, I witnessed it first hand. Later as it became clear that I had a interest in history and political science we found our common ground. To this day he still edits my papers and helps with my powerpoint presentations. He is extremely intelligent, educated, well written and well spoken. He has a natural leadership quality and a way with people that makes him beloved by his stafff. Can you imagine what it was like to literally stand in his shadow? To be able to define myself as an individual? To distinguish myself from being simply his daughter?
Do not be confused I love my father, my life and I love my experience as a brat. An experience I have only be able to truly appreciate as I have matured. And been able to make the connections on how it has defined who I am as an individual. How is shapes my choices and the direction in which I decided to go. The way I consider myself a member of a community and the responsibility that entails instead of just focusing on my own selfish motives. To separate the military from me would be impossible. I wouldn't have it any other way.
The "other brats" comment in my about page just refers to the difference between each brat's experience depending on what service their parent is in. Everyone knows that Marine brats have it the strictest, then Army, Air Force & then Navy. Also it determined where you were stationed. Navy almost always got tropical assignments. Army got crappy flat places that no one else wanted. Navy parents are away the most. Navy & Air Force parents that were pilots faced danger every day they flew. Marines often had to leave their families behind in the states. The basic experience was the same. Your life was ruled by Uncle Sam.