December 12, 2012

The Secret Soldiers

(patches and nametape blurred out)
I recently shared a photo of the three of us on Facebook. It was of our family in front of a Christmas tree at Sky's unit Christmas party (i.e., Millie's title: "Army Guy Party"). It would be a fairly insignificant thing in the life of some military families, but as a Reserve family, it's more important to me. It's the only photo I have of the three of us- or even Sky and I- with him wearing his uniform. I take some pride it, I admit.

There is a reason for that.

It may sound superficial that it means what it does, but the truth is, I want people to remember. That he counts. That he's also a solider. That he wouldn't, but he could yell 'Hooah' just as loud as the rest of them. That he too fought in a dangerous and scary place. That he's seen the view from the heights of Afghanistan.

We don't live anywhere near a base- after Googling, the closest one in Illinois is three hours away- and I think the military tends to be forgotten here. You don't see soldiers walking around town on a regular basis. There is no sound of gunfire on the range at night, and no one plays Reveille or Retreat in town. Our FRG is non-existent too, and with all that, military families here are an island in the Midwest. It's not a lonely thing most of the time- we obviously get to live near family if we choose, and have plenty of support that way. I just wonder sometimes if anyone remembers. On the very rare occasions they see him and the rest of his unit in public, I hope it triggers a response. I hope they remember the men and women serving overseas and the active duty component of our troops, but I hope they remember the rest of those here, too.

We took a quick trip to the store after the party, and got some groceries. In the checkout line, a man asked Sky about the protocols of saluting. It made me realize that it's just about the only time someone will have that kind of conversation with him. Like Clark Kent in his phone booth, these soldiers go to their civilian jobs every day, still have to go to drill weekends, training weeks, and deployments, but slip through the cracks of acknowledgement. They don't complain about it, but I can't help but think of them- these men and women who are secret soldiers.

Maybe it's his upcoming school and my thoughts on his absence. Maybe it's just that these feelings are usually pent up for a while until they spill from me. But every time I see a man in that trademark haircut, or hear a "yes, ma'am" from one of them, I smile inside. I know.

Their secret is our secret too, and that makes it a little bit easier.

9 kind comments from you:

Kathryn B said...

I know exactly how you feel. They are sometimes the forgotten soldiers and most of those around us have no idea what it's like to live the double life. I'm here for ya and I remember :)

Beckey said...

GREAT post! I have such respect and pride for the years my husband spent as a reservist. But somehow whenever his service came up at the time - or even now - I often felt the attitude that he was "just" a reservist. We sacrificed family time as my husband spent weekends away at drills. We were separated for weeks at a time while he went away to AT. I lived in fear of a phone call that would mean he was no longer "just" a reservist but was being deployed. We mattered as a military family also!

Jen said...

This is a wonderful post!! :)

Holly Robertson said...

Such an amazing post. I saw a whole group of little baby marines at the mall the other day in their blues.
You should be proud of this photo. I don't think Eric and I have any except the ball photo. <3

Kim said...

I love this post. My husband is National Guard so I completely relate to this. Thank you for sharing this. :)

Steph said...

:) I know exactly how you feel. Once weekend a month there is a reminder that my husband counts too. When he was active duty, I always remembered that he counted. Sometimes now all I have is a monthly reminder and a picture of us that hangs on the wall.

charla beth said...

"their secret is our secret too." i love that.

Sarah @ Charting New Territory said...

Thank You to your husband for his service.

Kristle Helmuth said...

It is unfortunate that it has to be that way, this is a great way to remember that he matters too!

Post a Comment