Wednesday, June 17, 2009
A friend of mine recently encouraged me to write, so I dug up some notes from my Iraq tour. I found notes I made in a large USO after I touched down in the States. So, here they are my thoughts (Amazing how difficult it is to read ones hand writing after 5 months...)
To appreciate the depth and breadth of our nation, the USO at one of the larger USO hub airports would give a good impression of the people in military service. Of course in any large airport you will see a broad arrayof people. There are young business travelers, Blackberry in one hand and laptop bag in the other; slim women that steal my heart with a sharp glance; young families with scattered children who seem lost and stressed; lovers looking tense, or happy or sad; youths coveting urban style with insanely baggy trousers and long white trousers.
When I travel it seems that I see the "separateness" of us all...The way we distinguish ourselves by dress, accoutrements and manor.
The USO at the larger hub airports is a place for service members to take a pause and seek some food or a place to sit down and hang out. The room is crowded and I manage to squeeze into a place on a couch. I see soldiers (no other military branches today) sprawled on the chairs in all manner of repose. Some are eating, some dozing, contorted into tight corners. The impression get is of a bunch of floppy limbed teddy bears who have been put into a box and then shaken up and tossed on the floor. Legs are where arms should be, and heads are on the floor with feet on armrests. Every race seems represented here and male and female. Everyone is young, and I feel like the oldest person here. Many seem to be just out of basic training, with no unit or rank insignia. What a jumble of people and baggage!
The difference between my compatriots in the USO and the civilians that are outside is that 1) we are all dressed the same 2) something else, some shared knowledge...perhaps nothing more than the concept of waiting, or one of a shared discomfort
There are many reasons for entering service...as many reasons as there are people in the Army...For me, like may others I lseek to find a feeling of belonging.