I had one of the most wonderful weekends ever. My partner, wife, and bestest friend, Linda and I had an “us” weekend. We kayaked (in brand new boats she surprised me with), read, went to the movies with friends, walked the dogs, napped, went out to lunch, talked, all the while reconnecting. I fell in love with her for about the million gazillionth time.
We were in our own little world, oblivious to what was happening in the far out reaches of humanity…..until I found out that someone I met on Facebook and have grown very fond of was shot. Twice. By a child in Afghanistan. Fortunately the wounds aren’t serious and she is expected to make a full recovery and continue her work in the military.
So while we were relaxing and having fun, she was on patrol, all senses on extreme alert. As we enjoyed our glasses of cold beer and wine, she rationed warm water from a canteen. We lounged in shorts, t-shirts and sandals. She wore a military uniform, helmet and army boots. We sat in air-conditioning. She sweated under a fierce desert sun. We reclined and read books. She held her weapon at the ready with orders to carry it everywhere and sleep with one hand on it. Linda and I were together. She was separated from loved ones. We ate fresh corn-on-the-cob. No doubt she scooped a commercially prepared meal from a can.
Linda and I are only two of the millions who may have spent the weekend having fun and relaxing. At the same time, troops countless miles away worked to stay alert, stay safe, and stay alive. My friend who I fondly call Soldier Girl is one of them.
There are few days where we don’t hear of one of our own having been wounded or killed overseas. But let’s enlarge the picture here. There are several countries who have troops stationed in the Middle East other than the US: France, Italy, Canada, Australia, Poland, Romania, the UK, just to name a few. Each member of those troops, woman or man, is doing the exact same thing. Serving in their country’s military.
I’m not trying to make a political statement. Anybody who knows me, knows I avoid politics like plague. The point I am trying to make is this. True, each of those troops was sent to protect their country. But as a combined entity, aren’t their efforts protecting the world? I believe they are. And for that, I’d like to extend my most heartfelt and humble thank you to Soldier Girl and all the troops, whatever country’s uniform you wear. You’re in my thoughts every single day. Stay safe and watch your back.