My heart goes out to the victims and family’s subject to the attack at Fort Hood. A sad reminder that the evil exists abroad and at home.
I never served in the military. I remember in my junior year in high school riding in the back of my parents Toyota Prius looking out window on the express way. My Mom and Dad in the front seat listening to AM 780, playing pre-recorded reports from abroad about the Iraq War while I tried to in vision where places like Falujjah and Baghdad where on a map.
In listening to the descriptions of the front line efforts I thought, out loud in the Prius, “Maybe I can join the Marines.” To which my wind shield dazed parents shook their trance and focused on their 17 year old son.
“Absolutely not, not my only son,” Mom said.
“Battle changes people Andy, it makes you a different person,” reinforced Dad. “We don’t want you to change from who you are…”
That day, sitting on the toll road was the first real time I gave thought to reality of war. Seemingly too simple of a trigger from two sentences from my parents and yet enough truth to understand the gravity of armed service. I sat in a car, in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois enjoying the fruits of peace time while kids only two years older than me sat in a Hummer praying that the road in front of them wont be lined with bombs.
I imagine, only because I can only imagine, what war must feel like some nights. I imagine a violent storm in which I can hear claps of thunder from near by lightning hitting trees and houses. I see flashes and feel vibrations, some violent some soft. I can hear the wind slamming the window panes of my room and the rain’s vigorous attack on the aluminum siding. I can feel the energy of the storm out side and I can tell it wants to get into where I sleep. The lightning wants to strike my metal bed posts and the wind wants to destroy the home I live in. All the while the back of my mind is picturing the coming tornado that the weather service missed, coming towards my house unmercifully, unannounced. I think of these things and multiply them by 10,000 and add death standing at the bottom of my bed.
Yet even those things added up and multiplied, I would still be understating the feelings of 19 year old sleeping in the desert listening to the storm around him.
God Bless our Troops.