Monday, December 05, 2011

A reflection

The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.-Douglas MacArthur farewell speech to the Corps.

I feel the need to stop and reflect today. Yesterday was the anniversary of the loss of one of the best Officers I've known, Adam Snyder.  I've written about him before and how much he meant to me, so I will not rehash again but will only say that for those of you where were lucky enough to have known him, there is, and always will be, a place in your lives that no one else can fill.

Today, when I logged into facebook, I was reading in a forum of Junior Officers. Generally the conversation is upbeat, humorous or frivolous--oftentimes it becomes a professional forum for development. This morning, there was a simple post by a Naval O-3 which read, "War Sucks." Nothing more. 

I could guess what he was writing about, but I don't know. It could have been about crappy food or missing holidays. It could have been about pay and funding cuts making his work-day harder. I don't even know if he's deployed or not. Like everything else, I projected--War Sucks...because you lose friends.

Like Adam...
Like Dan...
Like Tyler...

I meet with my boss's boss next week for my final counseling before I'm authorized to leave the military. It's not an easy decision and one which I chose because with Peter and I being married it was the only viable means to live a life together.  But the people and experiences I've had will forever color how I view the world.

It is easy to find and bring meaning to your life in the military. Even the mundane you can convince yourself is for the betterment of the Soldier and contributes to society. It scares me that I will lose this in several months and will have to create that meaning for myself.

I take forward with me a poem that has stuck in my mind since I first read it years ago. It is both reminiscence and charge. It encapsulates where I find meaning, and where I will find meaning, in the future. For regardless of the outcome of the wars we are currently engaged in, the deaths of my friends are not in vain for they have changed and influenced me. My life is not, and will not, be the same because of them.

The young dead soldiers do not speak.
Nevertheless they are heard in the still houses.
(Who has not heard them?)....

They say,
We were young. We have died. Remember us.

They say,
We have done what we could
But until it is finished it is not done.

They say,
We have given our lives
But until it is finished no one can know what our lives gave.

They say,
Our deaths are not ours,
They are yours,
They will mean what you make them.

They say, Whether our lives, and our deaths were for peace and a new hope Or for nothing
We cannot say.
It is you who must say this.

They say, We leave you our deaths,
Give them their meaning.

~Archibald MacLeish


Blogger Aubrey said...

You are so right when you say it is easy to find meaning for what you do in the Army. I am facing the same transition you are, and that poses a great challenge to me.

But on the flip side, my BN CDR told me that he probably stayed in the Army because it was the easier path; leaving and starting a new life would have been tougher. So in a way, we are choosing another road less traveled by... We distinguished ourselves through service, and now we distinguish ourselves as individuals.

Scary, but awesome.

4:08 PM  

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