Wednesday, December 9, 2009
My Dad was in the military for most of my growing up years and it was pretty cool to me as a small child to know that my Dad was a soldier and a hero. He never won any medals and has never talked about any bravery that I know he showed while in the field. But I know without a doubt that my Dad is a hero. Even if only in my eyes.
I remember waking up at night hearing him cry out (whether from nightmares or imagined enemies I'll never know) behind the bedroom door. I remember being half awake half sleeping and hearing him and Mom talk in hushed whispers about the things he experienced at the Border. But even with Mom he never shared the full story of what being a soldier and fighting for your country was like. What it really entailed. How it really effected him.
I also remember clopping around the house in his uniform shirt pretending to be a sargeant-major like he was. I remember my sister and I fighting over whose turn it was to unlace his heavy army boots. I remember the pure joy we felt when we saw him walking down the driveway all dusty and stinky and dirty after a tour at the Border. I remember us hosting the misfits that he took under his wing at our home. I remember how all those boys, the lost ones, the ones whose own parents had given up on them blossomed under my Dad's steely eye.
I cannot ever know for sure the dangers he faced and the fear I'm sure he must have felt at times. But I do remember the good times. I remember how dapper he looked in his uniform, how strong, how handsome.
And when I look at soldiers today, soldiers from whatever nation, from whatever force, I think about how their families must feel about them. And it must be pretty much how I feel about my (now old and long retired) soldier.
With lots of love and pride.
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