Wednesday, April 9, 2008
What is a blog for?
Now that I have one, that is the question. Obviously I will try to post travel updates. Aside from that, what else? Martha Stewart uses hers as a journal of her activities. My son Jake uses his to share his thinking, often to rant. I don't have much experience with others. But before I depart for my pleasure trip, I have something stuck in my craw, and I feel a rant coming on. Every Friday morning Tom and I meet with a group of ladies for breakfast in Des Moines, a suburb south of Seattle. These ladies are all retired teachers who worked with Tom at Des Moines Elementary School. They have been having breakfast together for many years, and when I retired they welcomed me into the breakfast club. Each week we meet, eat and talk about things from personal to politic. We never know when someone will find a segue to a new topic and mapping the conversational stream would result in a very complex diagram. Last week we were just finishing up our typical two hours when a young man approached our table. He was a former student of many of the teachers and he recognized them, so came to say hello. After greetings, I, not knowing him, asked him what he was doing now. Here is his story: This young man is now attending community college on the GI Bill. He contributed to this fund while he was in the Army on active duty, and it is now paying off well for him, thankfullly. He served a 15 month tour in Iraq, preceded by two short trips over there, providing support for special ops. He is now out of the army, but is subject to being recalled under stop loss for five years. When asked what he thought of the war, he said he didn't think we should be there. Someone asked him who he was supporting for President and he said he was supporting Hillary, but would vote for Obama if he was the candidate. He said he could not vote for the Republican because of what the current administration had taken away from him. When I asked him what he meant by that he told us that while in Iraq he had qualified for three Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Silver Star with Valour. If you don't know what those medals mean, Google them. You will be impressed. But on arriving home he was informed that no medals would be awarded. His mission was classified. He could not tell anyone what he did, and he would not be recognized for it. I was appalled. I commented that in affect, his service had been denied. He agreed. But he said he could do nothing about it. If he went public, he was subject to arrest and could basically be dissappeared. Now, Purple Hearts are for service injuries. I didn't ask about these, but fortunately they were not of a severe enough nature to be visable. Undoubedly he must be suffering from some amount of post traumatic stress. How could he not? He is subject to being recalled for a cause in which he no longer believes. But his service does not exist! I'm sure there are many stories like his, but when you have the personal experience of hearing one first hand, it becomes personal. And it makes me mad!! Just what does "Support Our Troops" mean anyway?