Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veteran's Day: I am feeling so conflicted....

This veteran's day, I am going to ask for the same thing that I asked for last year. Just a little bit of unity among the American People. Just a moment to reflect upon our military, and the great things that the military has accomplished over the years. Today is the birthday of the United States Marine Corps, and there are celebrations and memorials going on all over the country. Today I understand that a Marine Lance Corporal has been posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. That is truly a momentous day....a day for all of us to reflect, and perhaps Veteran's Day is further given it's just due because our military is currently deployed in all corners of the world.

I read today that Al Quaeda is saying that their "mission" is going much better than they anticipated, and that they were "mobilizing" 12,000 members for more evil doing. They also called President Bush the "Most stupid" American President ever. Further, they stated that they were pleased with the Republican defeat in the mid term elections. They claim that the American people have made the right choice. I really hated to hear that, as a Democrat, I don't like the nagging belief that Democrats are cowardly, or have no desire to be patriotic and defend our nation. I would be untruthful though if I said that there are parts of me that would like nothing better than to pack my gear and head home. That is where I came up with the title of this post. I am feeling very conflicted about my purpose, not in our purpose here. I sincerely hope that the Democrats will not make the mistake of saying that we need to pull out of here immediately. Regardless of the impetus for coming here, if we were to leave and allow the infrastructure to crumble, then our legacy would be greatly tainted here. So I want to leave, and I want to stay...it would seem that I am schizophrenic, wouldn't it. Perhaps I ought to expand upon the many personalities.

"Dkelsmith the Soldier"
He relishes the mission, and wants to go forward to the best of his ability to get things done ahead of schedule. He feels hamstrung and constrained by the never-ending list of policies, memoranda, procedure, and checklists. He thinks that when the military was free of the media scrutiny that things were done a lot better. He knows where he would increase the pressure, and he knows exactly what sort of pressure to apply. He thinks that there is no better place for him and his skills than right where he is.

"Dkelsmith the Leader"
He is a lot like the Soldier, but a lot more. He knows what needs to be done, but he realizes the price of what could happen if those plans ever formulate. He doesn't know if the life of even one of the Soldiers in his unit is worth anything that is going on here. More than anything he fears making a decision or action that results in the loss of life or injury. Every time everyone comes home safe and sound from missions he breathes a sigh of relief and prays that this trend will continue.

"Dkelsmith the Father"
He feels consumed with guilt about being gone so much. He thinks about the birthdays he has missed, and the birthdays that he will miss. No Thanksgiving, no Christmas, soccer games, football games, spending time....all those things that "good fathers" do. He tries to explain when his 4 year old demands to know, "Daddy where ARE you?!"

"Dkelsmith the Husband"
Feels guilt about constantly leaving his wife alone to do everything. He gets frustrated because he cannot be there to help with things. He feels left out, yet understands that it cannot be helped. While there is a satisfaction in knowing that his wife can handle things by herself, he doesn't like the fact that she can. Being needed here does pale in comparison to being needed at home.

I am all of these people rolled up into one...and yes, my mind is a confusing mess at time, but I have never wavered in what I was doing. I believe in what I am doing. I am doing the job that my father did before me. I am doing exactly what I dreamed about doing when I was 4 years old. But, Dad made all of this look so much easier. Happy Veterans' Day, Dad. Happy Veteran's Day to all of my brothers and sisters who wear, or ever wore the uniform.

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