I’m standing in a room full of people who are honoring my sacrifice of being a military veteran. Often when people hear about the military they hear of moving regularly, deploying to war and losing loved ones.
And yes, there is that, but there is also so much goodness in those hard times and sacrifice.
I am still close friends with 3 of the people I deployed with 7 years ago. We talk via text message on an almost daily basis. We have had virtual meet ups for breakfast across the country and sometimes when we are lucky one or two of us get to see each other in person. And a couple years ago we all ran a half marathon together at Disneyland.
We had to go through a lot of hard times and our training in the dead of winter in Indiana was pretty horrible for many reasons. But recently we were reminiscing about never going back to Camp Atterbury and one of the people from my group of friends said. “Without Atterbury, there would be no Amanda, Alice*, Nicole* and Peter*.” So maybe, I don’t want to go through that experience again, but maybe going through it one time was worth it.
It was worth it.
I did get a great group of friends. Lifelong friends. Friends who understand things that I can’t always talk to people about. And because of them I don’t even have to try to explain how I feel. They just know. I’m thankful for the sacrifice I made because in the end the benefits far outweigh the hard parts. It was just one year and now I have friends for the rest of my life.
Military Life Means Moving
Military life means moving around the country every couple years. And it definitely isn’t easy. But the places we have been, the people we have met have made every move worth it. This is something I’m clinging on to as we prepare to move away again this summer.
And deploying was hard and there was a possibility that I could have gotten hurt or even killed as we roamed around the “streets” of Kapisa. But I was able to experience a culture and so many things the typical American never gets to see. My eyes were opened up to more of what this world is. And I don’t think I can ever be disappointed that I was able to experience that.
Meeting my husband
And I guess the biggest thank you I have to give credit to the military is meeting my husband. My husband and I met in college during the Reserve Officer Training Program (ROTC). I don’t see our paths crossing if we had not been in this program together. I kind of still think it is a miracle we got connected even in that small group. And now here we are over 10 years later. Married with two boys. He is still serving in the Air Force while I get the opportunity to stay at home with our boys and follow him around the country.
It is always easy to look back at life and see how things happened, but what if one thing didn’t take place. What if I had never decided to join the military. What if I had stayed a shy timid girl who went on with a degree in Mathematics.
I’m sure my life would have been fine. I likely I wouldn’t even know what I was missing, but I’m glad I took that step. I am so glad I took the step toward sacrifice. In the end, I think that all those sacrifices turned out to create a pretty good life.