There is nothing funny or glamorous about war. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have taken a terrible toll on countries and families around the world. Rooting out terrorists and freeing a nation in the bondage of corrupt leaders, has become a test of our United States military over the past several years. In an attempt to help, we have been ridiculed and ambushed beyond belief. Your opinion as to whether we should be engaged in such action is your own; please hear me out--this is not a debate about right or wrong. This is a personal plea to support those who proudly serve, and their families often left behind.
My family has a long list of Veterans, including all three of my brothers. J., the oldest, retired from the US Air Force, after over 20 years of service to our nation. M., the next oldest, was in the US Army, stationed as far away as Germany. G., the youngest of the three became a US Marine in 2002. Soon after boot camp and all of his training, he was sent to Iraq just as the war was beginning there. We did not know where he was, or if he was safe. We knew he had a job that did not exactly put him on the front line, but we learned later that everyone was on the front line during those years! On his first trip home after being sent there, we noticed a huge change in his personality. He had seen things that no human should see; been in attacks that killed one of his buddies right next to him, and was in a convoy of vehicles that had to run over Iraqi children thrown into the street by their parents as "human shields." It changed him.
Most of G.'s five years in the Marines were spent in Iraq. After his time served, he left active duty for a new career and a new life. Last year, he was married to a lovely lady that supported and encouraged him through his last deployment. I believe that she brought "our G." back to us, and I thank God for her!
G. took some needed time off, and then began a job search. It was difficult to find employment , even though he had job skills learned from his experience in the military. Time has gone on, and his attempt at a new career proved to be futile. He has now decided to do what he knows best...to be an active duty Marine once again. This time, he will train for a new job because his old job is over flowing with candidates. This time, he may or may not go to Iraq. This time, he may or may not be in a daily fight for his life. This time, he will stay to finish a career in the US Marines.
We hope and pray that we will never have to attend the funeral of my brother because of some act of war. It is a daily reality to the families of military men and women, that at any time, uniformed officers from their loved one's particular branch of service could knock on their door with the devastating news no one wants to hear: "Your soldier has been killed in action." This did however happen in my extended family in early December 2006. They had three sons serving at the same time. Two were in the Army and one was a Marine. The following is a brief newspaper article about the young Marine, and G.'s cousin.
(This will continue in my next post.)