|(patches and nametape blurred out)|
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.