Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Military thoughts.

Patrick's brother is in the Air Force, and he just graduated from flight training school this past weekend. So we left Thursday to go to Pensacola for all of his graduation festivities, and I was seriously overcome with emotion THE WHOLE TIME. I wasn't crying profusely, but I was so struck with the amazing men and women in the military, and HOW MUCH they put on the line to protect our country. Obviously they're willing to risk their lives for us, and would do so gratefully, without a second thought. I can't fathom a more selfless and noble job for someone to take on.

And so Patrick and his parents and I sat in on these ceremonies, listened to the awards given, watched the graduation traditions, walked thru flight simulations, spent time in the airplane hangars, and went to a museum of all the planes flown by past presidents. And y'all, I seriously could not feel more honored to not only know someone in the military, but to now be related to someone in the military. Someone that is so close to my age. Who could have chosen to do anything else, but he chose this. And I was just not expecting to feel SO PROUD of that fact while I was in Pensacola. So overcome with compassion and understanding for what husbands and wives and parents and children go through on a DAILY basis, so that their loved ones can stand on the front lines of battle...risking their lives on behalf of others. On behalf of me

And the nature of Bryan's plane means that the missions he'll do are more dangerous than most, and he can tell us virtually nothing about them. As I've been thinking about that and how lonely that must feel, especially when you know you're doing something so amazing, BUT THAT NO ONE WILL KNOW... it is almost too much for me to stomach. 

Our military is incredible. And I just have so much more of an appreciation for them after seeing all that my brother-in-law is giving up in order to be a part of it. And to live on base, and be told what to wear and what to eat, and where to go. 

And I hope that I'll learn to honor them all better as I'm starting to get a more realistic view of what it takes to commit your life to our country. 

Here's a note from a dear friend whose husband is in the military. She and I have been going back and forth on our thoughts and proud moments, and I felt like these words were really truthful, poignant, and real. Painting a far better picture than I ever could of what the life is truly like.

The hardest and darkest time in my life to date was when my husband was deployed for those 13 months...and I try not to live in fear of the next deployment (because maybe there won't be one for him!) but the thought makes me physically ill. And I've gone through one deployment. One. While we were DATING. With no kids involved. Surrounded by my friends and family. I've had it so easy. There are THOUSANDS of women who have gone through multiple deployments with multiple children...who have had babies born while their husbands are away...and had to endure that awful, awful fear of wondering if their husband is safe every time a story about soldiers dying pops up on CNN. And the deployment is not even the half of it. Reintegration is hell. It was months before he was able to fully be himself after he came back. And he wasn't even in direct combat...its just the atmosphere alone that will jack these men up. The constant alertness, the constant fear of attack, the isolation....the list goes on and on and on. These guys come back CHANGED and it is terrifying. there is nothing like that in the civilian world. No business trip, no work assignment will EVER compare to a deployment. The people who do this, who live this life, are incredible. Bottom line. Your brother-in-law is a hero, simply for committing to this. Your family is incredible for supporting him and standing by him, for praying for him when he's gone, for sending him care packages when he deploys, for letting him know you're there for him no matter what...even when he can't tell you what he's doing or done...and that will feel very isolating and lonely and frustrating.

So make sure to thank anyone you know in the military for all that they give up on our behalf. Without being asked, and doing so gracefully and humbly. I can't think of a better hero to honor.


Hayley Bidez said...

This is an amazing post. My dad was in bagdad when i was in high school right after 9/11. But my did was a contractor out of KBR and already served in the Army and just worked with Fort McPherson my entire life... I could go on for days about the relation there and the stress that comes with the title.

However, what is really interesting is the Lord told me that there is going to be a rise in joining the united states forces... a new wave of desire to serve and give is going to happen soon. So reading this gave me chills and conformation on the movement already starting... your brother in law is brave and I am very thankful for his position.

beachbirdie said...

I'm glad you got a glimpse into military life. My dad went to Korea once and Vietnam 3 times (for a year each). He went to Vietnam when my mother was 4 months pregnant with me (her third child) and we moved there when I was 7 months old. That was the first time I saw my dad. My brother, brother-in-law, and father-in-law also served in the military. I was an Army brat, a Navy wife, and am an Air Force Special Ops mom. I must say being a mom of a child serving is the hardest. And yes...I, too, am overcome with emotion when I see these "kids" serving. They grow up quickly.

Mary said...

You guys are amazing, thanks for sharing your stories with me. My grandparents were all in the army overseas, but its so different when it is becoming a part of my day-to-day reality, rather than just 'hearing' stories about what it was like for my parents growing up. Robin you are a BRAVE soul! So proud of moms like you.