Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Thing of Memories

     Its hard to say with any certainty that there are days with much importance to the rest of my life.  Sure, this experience is one that will shape me in ways I might not fully understand, but that is a judgement of the experience as a whole.  As the tedium of the day-to-day drags on, one cannot help but get lost in each wake-up, brushing it off as "just another day" or "SOS".
     Its exactly this mindset which makes a special day, almost more special.  Im sure we all have mile stone days in our lives, moments which we will never forget, which we can remember a clear as the day it happened.  This deployment wasnt official for me until July 7th.  That was the day I finally earned the right to complete my uniform.  That was the day I was officially deployed.  That was the day I received my combat unit patch.
     Now, I know that this may come as little significance to most, and to those who have been here, some multiple times, the act of receiving this patch is an empty gesture and probably a waste of their afternoon.  This may be the case, but around the jokes and through the cynicism, you cannot deny the face that you were there, you gave it up and this is the day you are recognized for your efforts.  I may not ever want to sit through that ceremony again, but Ill remember my that ceremony for the rest of my life.
     I have been in the Army for two years this month.  For the entirety of my military career I have had a large patch of velcro on my right sleeve and I have been constantly reminded of that blank space.  I was once told to show some respect to a guy I outranked because he had a combat patch and I didnt.  Sure, this only happened once, but thats the kind of moment that leaves its mark.  I finally have some validation to my choice to join the army. 
     We could argue the ups and downs of history and experiences your friends or relatives had at war and maybe my experience isnt one that would make me heroic and I might not be in much danger, but I still went when and where I was told to go.  I didnt back down from my orders and if I dont measure up to someone elses standards, so be it.  Im walking under the same desert sun as anyone else who has seen the middle east, Im with the men Ive grown to trust, and I deployed in a time of war in the manner my country asked me to.  I have no regrets and I am serving my country with honor.
     I cant say which days will leave their mark in this deployment of mine, but its nice to know that Im not just counting the sunrises numbly as I await my return flight.  There needs to be a mix to the tedium and this is one day that felt better than the others.  I advise everyone to pay attention to the days that mean the most.  If its the destiny of such times to remain only as a good story among friends, then at least when youre asked, you can tell it properly.

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