Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Do What's Right, Even When No One is Looking

I saw a special tonight, on Frontline, about the history of the Marines. It got me thinking about my time in the Army. Bottom line - Joining the Army was the best thing I've ever done in my life. Yes, bold words, but true.

Not for the bravado, not for the fraternity, but because it taught me more about life than anything ever has. It gave me a deep connection with the history of the United States, more than I ever thought possible, for I am in George Washington's Army, Patton's Army, and I am the soldier in the jungle, in the desert, and in places we can't talk about. I know what hardship is by seeing people around the world that most Americans can't even imagine living like and it's made me a better person I'm sure. I appreciate what I have as I'm living it for those that died for their country. Looking back I wouldn't change a thing.

Maybe the biggest benchmark is that nobody in my family - no body at all - wanted me to join. It was a decision I made alone and listening to my gut and I knew was right, I just knew. Part of me really wants to still be there, in the Army. Where my NCO creed gave me a pathway that I'll never forget and still apply every single day. I'd love to go to Ranger school, and then attempt Special Forces, and I honestly believe that I could have made it and then made a difference in the world on that wonderful one on one level. How different would my life be? Radically different I'm sure. Still I'm on a great path now so I'm happy with my choices.

My contribution was insignificant in the grand scope of things, but I did my part no matter how small, I am part of a brotherhood that's cemented in my core. It'll be there forever I'm sure, and after having served my country, in war, and having dealt with all the suffering, fear, loneliness, loss of life and more I wouldn't change a thing. It's not for everyone, but it was for me. I don't roll out this speech very often, as it's a private issue and mine alone, but here it is. I'm not looking for thanks, or anything like that (if you feel so compelled go thank a WWII, Korea, or Vietnam vet) I just hope I made the millions of men and women in the armed forces proud of my time representing the United States of America in the Army.
(Me in the Philippines standing among a very small part of the American soldiers killed in the PI in WWII. These boys never came home, so I count everyday as a blessing.)

1 comment:

lisawj said...

nice photo. i am positive that those few years of your life will impact everything from here on out. and for the better.