A few weeks ago, I told you about my upcoming trip to North Carolina and how I would get to play army wife as I accompanied my husband to his military reunion.
Now, I am sitting right in the middle of it.
I met a lot of people on this trip, some decent, other not so much, and I heard stories that you would not believe even if I told you.
There is something profound about history in general, but there is something even more profound about American Military History.
It’s a strange story and a somewhat paradoxical one.
It’s a story where the heroes go abroad to defend and liberate the oppressed, while persecuting and oppressing the poor on their own turf. Americans are always ready to stand up against any injustice they feel is happening in the world. Yet racism is witnessed at home on the streets every day.
The military is inclusive of all, welcomes and accepts all men and women alike while at the same time treating people differently based on their skin colour, gender or sexual orientation.
As I sat and participated in countless mundane discussions, hearing stories of the past, I witnessed old timers telling black jokes in front of a non-white audience and military people totally disrespecting their commander in chief, comparing him to an ape. I was taken aback. I thought: “It’s one thing to make fun of the President if you are a civilian, but doesn’t military personnel, past and present, have a duty to show him respect no matter what?”
But like in Bizarro World, all these troops, females and males, straights and gays, black and whites, Democrats and Republicans live together in harmony, regardless of their affiliations, and work together towards the same goal: keeping America safe.
And as I sat in front of the massive memorial display, a football field filled with the combat boots and ID badges of fallen soldiers, It sunk in. While in uniform, a soldier is a soldier first and foremost. A white supremacist will die for his black brother in arms. A Christian who condemns homosexuality will overlook his comrade’s sexual preference. A Democrat will ignore the Republican’s ignorance.
Say what you will, American Soldiers have a bond that defies comprehension. Once a soldier, always a soldier.
The mystical bond of brotherhood makes all men brothers -Thomas Carlyle