Monday, July 5, 2010

Why do we do what we do?

Anyone else reveling in the afterglow of July 4th on this beautiful July 5th Monday? MMmmmmm. Deep sigh of contentment

This morning I'm putting up an article that I have posted on CinCHouse right now as it seems to fit well in the celebrating of our nation's birthday and honoring the military. It's about the pride of being in the military and why we live the life that it requires. I know not everyone out there is of the military persuasion reading my blog, so if you aren't, maybe it will show you some of military life, and if you are, hopefully it rings true for you too!


Uniforms. Gunfire. Humvees. Saluting. All a part of a typical day.

Some non-military friends came to visit us and since we wanted to give them a taste of the military life, we took them on a tour through post. Of course we had to show them all the cool landmarks like the Airborne jump towers, where Ranger school takes place, and where basic training is held. They were absolutely impressed with all of that, but the aspect of post that they were most amazed by surprised me. The soldiers. The fact that guys just walk around all day in uniform was incredible in their eyes. Walking through the PX and getting to see people sitting in the Food Court, shopping, and getting haircuts in uniform was awe-inspiring.

I think it’s amazing too, but it becomes so normal that I tend to forget that we really are in our own little world here in the military.

If I think about the fact that for my friend, her husband’s job entails going into an office, processing loans, then coming home at 5 p.m., it gets weird. Then it gets especially interesting when I think about my husband’s job and how it entails jumping out of planes and walking through the villages of Afghanistan carrying a weapon.

It’s definitely not the most normal of professions.

If this is such a different life than what many of our friends from home are living, why did we go this route? If this is a lifestyle that requires strength, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice, why do we, along with thousands of others in the nation, choose this? Wouldn’t it just be easier to find a job at a store down the street from our families and call it good? What is it about the military that draws so many different people from so many different walks of life into it?

Why do we do what we do?

So others don’t have to.

Because you make life-long friends.

Because you came from a military heritage and other options weren’t as fulfilling.

Because you believe in the cause.

Because it develops an awareness of the world that you would not have been able to possess otherwise.

Because of the camaraderie created from sharing life with those who are standing by your side through the good, the bad, the funny, and the tears.

Because there is something significant in devoting your life to a bigger cause, to something greater than yourself.

Because you get to see the world and the country.

Because we know that we need to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves.

Because we fell in love with a soldier.

Sometimes living a life devoted to the military is as complicated as politics, economics, or family dynamics. But sometimes it is as simple as a love story. There is a powerful purpose in what we do, no matter what the reason is that got us here in the first place.

This is a life-changing profession. I believe for both us and for those we serve. I think that it is impossible to leave the military as the same person you were when you entered it, whether service member or spouse. You get to experience things that you never would have had the opportunity to otherwise. It expands your worldview, forges friendships, and instills pride. It develops compassion, patience, and grace. It cultivates selflessness when you help others in need, and then gratitude when you receive help that you needed too. It changes you.

We could continue to list reasons of why we do what we do. But, there is one very important reason: It matters.

This life makes a difference. And it’s worth it. Sometimes a reality check might come when you look around your post or base and realize that not everyone in America is used to seeing people wear berets, salute officers passing by, or pull to the side of the road to let a patrol pass. But we are the few fortunate ones who get to experience the immense pride that comes from serving. And I am grateful.

It is at the front of my mind constantly, but especially so during times such as these when we just celebrated Memorial Day and the Fourth of July is around the corner. So if military life has just gotten normal for you, pause for a moment the next time you’re on post to look around and truly recognize the importance, the power, and the beauty of what you are surrounded by.

The uniforms. The formations. The soldiers. The Sacrifice. The Pride.


No comments:

Post a Comment