Sunday at the church where I work is Armed Forces Day where we thank and honor active duty and retired military for their service. That is what brought the idea for this post to me.
J is in the Navy. He was in the Navy when we met and he made it clear since he'd been in 15 years he was going the other 5 to make 20. I grew up an Air Force brat (some days more so than others) and so I have no problem with the military life. Heck it is what I know. And frankly it is my comfort zone. I think we will be fortunate and he will remain stationed in this area for his final five years. However, that does not mean he will be in this area for the next five years. Currently he is on shore duty but next year he will have to go to a new assignment. He could go to a boat which means six months home, six months away for the next few years. He could go to Bahrain for a year which is considered to be hazardous duty as far as pay but isn't as hazardous as some other options. But he would be gone for a year.
And the final choice which is his personal favorite...the Riverines. Which is a group of Navy soldiers that drive a speed boat (of sorts) up and down the rivers of Iraq or wherever they are needed. They guard the river and more importantly offer back up to other military branches. It is a dangerous job much like the Navy Seals. Because I know it is what he really wants to do I will support him in his decision and in his career but I admit there is a part of me that already stresses about it and we're not even there yet.
He and I have had discussions about him going to Iraq and he doesn't (didn't) understand how my life would change. I could still walk down the street, I could go out to eat with friends, I could sleep in my own bed, I could have a drink, etc. he was the one who's life would change. Until I explained to him that my life would change because he wouldn't be here for any of those things. And because part of me would hold my breath every time the phone rang hoping it was him while also hoping it wasn't a commanding officer. And because every day I went to bed without the doorbell ringing would be a good day. And that yes I had lived without him in my life for 31 years but I didn't really want to figure out how to live without him permanently any time in the future. I told him that my life would change maybe not as drastically as his but it would change none the less. And he did what he did best (because I'd started to cry) he held me in his arms and told me he loved me. And he admitted he'd never thought of it that way before. So now he and I have an understanding about if and when he goes in to a dangerous area. And we will respect what the other is going through because we have a better understanding of the other side. And I know our faith in God will get us through whatever may come.
He also explained to me why he wants to go...he wants to go so that we don't have to fight the war in our backyard...he wants to go because there are people who can't fight for themselves...he wants to go so that other younger guys and gals don't have to...as his favorite quote says...
" We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. " ~ George Orwell
With that I want to thank all the American military who are fighting around this world to protect our freedoms and so we can sleep safe. I also want to thank the families of these men and women for their love and support so the soldiers can do what they need to do. Thank You!!!