I went to Home Depot this morning. You know…Saturday morning, 7am, kids sleeping….kind of a date for Greg and I.
When we walked in they had 4 planters set up…with Red, White and Blue ribbons. One was filled with sand…and about 15 flags stuck in it…all with writing on them. The vegetable stakes that usually hold tomatoes vines…instead held three camouflage soldier hats. Just hanging limp off the stakes.
The sign read…please add the name of a loved lost soldier on a flag.
The image was so real. It was so 3-D…In my face…The image of those caps…hanging so lifelessly.
I picked up a flag and wrote the name of a soldier whom just took his own life. Sgt. Dane. I never knew him…but the P4OH – 3R’s program that I’ve started working with…has thrown me right smack dab in the middle of this whole VA problem. I have so much “behind the curtain” knowledge of what these soldiers have had to endure…I’m blind with sadness for these young men and women…what they have had to witness…what they’ve had to do…what Sgt. Dane couldn’t live with anymore…and took his own life.
Before my involvement with the military (which by the way…they came to me…I certainly didn’t sign up for the post)…All I knew was my limited civilian knowledge.
1. My dad was beaten up all the time and called Jew Boy when he was drafted into the Army in the 60’s. He hated every moment of his time in the Army…And it still breaks my hearty to think of my sweet teddy bear Dad, getting beaten up repeatedly by these bullies.
2. I married into an Army family when I was 25. And I know that every single one of them would not only agree, but finely admit…that it was not a very loving family. All the men whom had served…and that was most of them…had drinking problems…were all divorced…had anger issues…and were the loneliest… most isolated men I had ever met.
So, here I am…comforting these amazing young people…coming back from a hell that I truly can’t imagine.
Today in Home Depot…right at the entrance…at 7am…I filled out the name Sgt. Dane and started to cry as I walked into the BBQ section to hide and disappear.
I’m the biggest wimp.
I never experienced Memorial Day like this before. I mean…I had seen parades…even marched in them. Always had some kind of picnic or BBQ. I knew it was a good “Clearance” day to buy cars and appliances…But I never felt it. Never felt it the way…I’m not sure…in my gut.
I know all the names and faces now. I joke with them…the high ups that have lost thousands of their own men and women. Thousands. And the Top Brass of the military suffer enormously…I can tell you that first hand.
They may not look like it on TV…but they are fighting a war inside them that rips at every part of who they are. (Sorry boys…but I call them like I see them.) Keep the brave faces for you troops…I’m just a phone call away!
This VA problem will be fixed…and it will be done as a joint effort by all of us. And I love the fact that an uppity Jewish chick from West Hartford, CT…who tells all these Generals, Brigadier Generals, Admirals (all kinds of men with titles that are usually saluted to)…I tell them that they are wrong…I interrupt them when they are talking…Laugh at them, Cry with them… and have been known to say that they are just plain “Fu?%$9ng Wrong!”
So on Monday…Stop. Stop what you are doing…and REALLY think about what Memorial Day means. Show you children pictures of true heroes. The ones who return and have to figure out how to live in a world they don’t fit in anymore.
Every year when we would hang the flag outside the house…I tried to match the flowers so it would all look nice. What an ASS I was!
I’ll hang the flag out today with so much pride. Pride in the fact that I am finally giving something back to my country and the men and women who actually know what sacrifice is.
Know what Honor is. What Heroism means. And takes the word… Service…very personally.
The ones who run to the threat…the ones who throw themselves on their friends bodies…
I consider myself lucky to serve you. I’m truly honored.
Happy Memorial Day.