August 8, 2008 – Friday
He’s a hero now..
When Micheal was killed one of the things people said to us often, to comfort us, was that he was a hero now. They are right, he is, but I want to ask them why did he have to die for them to realize he was a hero. To me to walk into a recruiting station and join the military (any branch) during war time takes courage and honor that is sadly rare these days. My son became my hero the day he signed the papers. I remember that day clearly. Sgt. Markham his recruiter would not let him sign at first. He stated quite clearly and honestly that we are at war and by joining he would be deployed to an active war zone in either Iraq or Afghanistan. My son understood where his job would take him. And for reasons so few people understand he had to go and do the job he choose. You see Micheal scored pretty darn well on the ASVAB and we encouraged him to go to linguist school. He had a nature ability to pick up languages. But no he wanted infantry. He wanted to make a real difference and in his mind the best way for him to do that was to fight up front. To stand between the evil and the oppressed literally.
So now I sit and wonder why it is that we have to bury a hero before they are seen as one. I’ve met so many heroes in the past few months. Most of them served along side my son. The men who email me almost daily to make sure I am doing ok. Me sitting here in a air conditioned house who can go to the store and buy what ever I desire at any time they worry about while they are doing without. Depending on the grace of others to send them snacks and toothpaste. These men who put on so much gear in the ungodly heat to go out into the streets of a foreign land to protect and free people they don’t even know. These men and women who work so hard to contain the violence so it doesn’t re visit our shores.
Then there are the heroes I meet in the recruiting station. Young people who have decided to join the military and go and continue this fight for freedom. They only have an inkling of what they will face yet they proudly tell me the jobs they have picked and how they are studying hard to increase their test scores. There is a pride and honor in these recruits you just don’t see in the eyes of the kid heading to work at the local warehouse. Don’t get me wrong I respect anyone who is willing to go get a job and make their way in the world but joining the military is different. Especially in this world today.
My son D is going to college this fall. I am proud of him more than he knows. And the fact is when his brother was killed he considered joining the Army and finishing the job his brother started. But it was not his path. If it is still something he wants a year from know I will support him in it. In a way Micheal’s brothers and sister are heroes too. I come to that because when one member of the family joins the whole darn family joins. No we didn’t face the dangers and hardships that Micheal did but we faced an emotional roller coaster only military families understand. Pride, Joy, fear, anger, hope, hopelessness. A part of each of us died on Feb 24th . There is a hole in our soul that will never heal. And we each fight from going into that hole. We help each other in that fight. We take turns being strong for the other.
I still don’t understand why these men and women have to have taps played for the world to see the heroes they are. Or to step up and support the families that love them and give a part of their hearts to the military when their loved ones join. Funny thing is every single man and woman I know in the military would laugh at me for calling them heroes.. to them.. they are just doing their jobs. Which makes them even more heroic to me.