Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Independence Day!

It is not normal for me to share things of a personal nature on this blog, for some reason I feel like this particular one should be shared today.  As many of you know I have been on active duty in the United States Marine Corps since mid 1993.  Additionally I have been married since I graduated boot camp.  We are the only spouses that each has ever known, and we have five children together, and no others.  I guess for the most part we are in the minority on family values.

I have been on many overseas deployments and many more long exercises and training evolutions.  When you are away from your home for an extended period of time there is always a dark period where you start thinking about rather or not this is all worth the effort.  I am currently in the middle of one of those times.  I am a half of a year into an Afghanistan deployment with a few months left to go.  I left my family on only a couple of weeks notice, after dragging them across the country and leaving the home and community that we loved.
During ALL of my previous “dark times” I have found many reasons to push on and ship over.  This time I find that I am lacking in that patriotic motivation.  I guess that my heart is no longer in the fight.  The motivation that I once felt to represent this great nation is waning.   I no longer elevate the service of America above the service to my family.  As far as my career has been progressing, I have essentially been promoted out of my chosen career path.  All the things that I loved about military service now live only in fond memories of my youth. 
As school was getting close to letting out this past year (I was deployed of course,) and my youngest son EGIL had asked his mother for a new lunch box when they were out shopping.  He had his eye on a “Scoobie Doo” insulated lunch bag.  He was excited as children often get about little things.  So Angel (my  wife) decided to get it for him.  He was carrying it around all over the house and picnicking in the back yard with it all weekend.  He couldn’t wait to take it to school.  So when Monday arrived Angel packed him a lunch and he was off to school.  He apparently received a ration of shit from some punk ass kid about the cartoon lunch bag.  He swallowed the ridicule and carried it for the next day also.  Again he was belittled by the same little ignorant bastard.  After that my sweet innocent son refused to carry that lunch bag to school again.  He even cried when he couldn’t find another one to take his lunch in.  Like a good older brother LEIF gave his lunch bag to Egil, Leif too knows that feeling all too well.  While this seems to be just a small inconvenience to most people, I can’t get it out of my head.

(Egil and Sasha enjoying breakfast by the "ninja shelter" they built by themselves and spent the night in.)

How can one kid rip the joy from another for no purpose?  He has managed to make my poor son feel ashamed and embarrassed for enjoying something that was designed to appeal to children just like him.    Yet I continue to run off to foreign lands and leave my wife and children to do the best that they can in my absence.  So at a time when my boy could have used his father’s wisdom, or at least a big hug, I was on the other side of the planet.  I can no longer in good conscience forsake those that I love the most, to fight in the name of a nation that is in large part foreign to me.
I can’t help but wonder who raised this kid that so freely dished out the ridicule to my child, and I would assume to many other happy children as well.  Is his father a dead beat, or a blue collar worker just trying to feed his family.  Maybe he is white collar and fancies himself higher than us working class bums.  Perhaps he ran off before the kid was ever born, or maybe he is also a deployed military father.

The intriguing part is that you can no longer tell, he is an average American punk ass kid that thinks he should be able to force everyone to be as miserable as he is.  If he had taken the lunch bag from Egil I would be OK with that.  Egil would probably have kicked his ass and taken it back.  This kid struck a much more strategic blow, he attacked with shame and humiliation.  Egil could no longer even enjoy the lunch bag at home, he just wanted to throw it away and forget about it.   It hurts and angers me to think about how my son must have been feeling while that little shit was making fun of him.  What’s worse, no other kids defended my son, no one came to his aid.  Yet here I sit in Afghanistan, standing on the wall to defend American principals, Ideals, and our way of life.  Well I don’t think that our way of life is worth defending anymore.  If the children are a reflection of their parents then this nation is in trouble.  Especially if you consider that everyone watches, and no one steps in to do the right thing.  What are we becoming, and what are we teaching our children?

Sadly this is only one event in a long line of them, there are probably many more that I will never know about because I  am here and they are there.  With the passing of this new health care plan my retirement will go almost entirely to pay the TAX (if the numbers that I have seen are correct).  I will have given my entire adult life in support of a system that promised me a fair retirement for honorable and faithful service.  Now they are going to TAX that away from me too.  They have taxed my life enough already, a tax that is paid mostly by my family and my personal health, now this.  And just to add fuel to the fire ,OUR supreme court has decided that any piece of shit can go out and purchase military uniforms and awards, and legally wear them as freedom of speech.  Yet MY freedom of speech is limited, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).  I can’t even speak my opinion without choosing careful words.   All this has led me to the conclusion that I have nothing left to offer this country and when my contract is complete, I will take my leave.  I feel that the constitution that I have sworn to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic, is confetti on the floor at some special interest victory party.  This is my independence day and I am officially unserviceable!  NM