Monday, December 1, 2014

The End is Near!

I’ve started this post 56 times, maybe more.  Too glib.  Too serious.  Too something.

My tour in Afghanistan is over.   Well, almost.  As I write this, I’m not quite home.  As a Reservist, I have to go to a gulag known as North Fort Hood for demobilization.   This is the military process of turning you back in to a pumpkin…but the French toast in the Dining Facility is fantastic, so I’m okay.

I have a million thoughts and contradictory emotions going through my mind, each trying to occupy the same space    I am excited to be home.  I am terrified to be home.  I can’t wait for things to get back to what was normal.  I want things to be different.  I’m so glad to not see the exact same people when I go to the shower, breakfast, lunch, dinner, gym, office, church etc.  I already miss them.  Well, okay, not all of them, but just about.  I don’t want to think about Afghanistan.  I don’t ever want to forget it.  It was an amazing experience that few people have.  I don’t really want to do it again. 

I can’t wait to see my wife and children.  I’m looking forward to BBQ, Christmas with the family, a return to being an assistant prosecutor, and a bathroom in the same zipcode as my bed.  I’m also ready to live on the edge…you know…without the “Big Voice” telling me when lightning has been seen within 5 nautical miles of the base,  walking around in the evening without a reflective belt, and running while wearing earphones (oh, the humanity!). 
Just as I laugh at a memory, or think of another, “one time, at fat camp” story, I remember.  Twelve soldiers passed before my salute, covered by our Nation’s flag.  I didn’t know most of them.  I don’t recall names, but I remember sending them home.  I didn’t do anything noteworthy, as they did. I am not a hero, as they are.  Frankly, my wife and children made greater personal sacrifices than were asked of me in the combat zone.  That said, I don’t think anyone can be witness to war and not affected in some way.  I have been given a gift those men were denied.  I feel compelled to do something with it.  I don’t yet know what.

My thoughts then turn to the people I had the privilege of serving with.  They will forever be the people I served with in Afghanistan.  Accountants, cops, lawyers, students, teachers, and engineers coming together from Florida, Missouri, Texas, Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, Virginia and South Carolina to make a base in a combat zone run smoothly.  It was amazing to see.

What a ride!  I think it may just take a while to process things.  Maybe you just shove it all in a mental box and drive the kids to practice.  I don’t know.  

I think if I can just avoid being struck dead by a car I didn't hear because I’m wearing headphones while running in the dark without reflective gear, I’ll be moving in the right direction.

1 comment:

  1. An instructive post. People to really know who they want to reach and why or else, they'll have no way to know what they're trying to achieve. People need to hear this and have it drilled in their brains..
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