Veteran Status: Part V, Meaning and Perspective
A Five-Part Series on My Life in the Army
The title of this post promises something deeper than my sleep-deprived brain can muster.
In case you missed Part I-IV of this series, here’s My Life in the Army, abbreviated:
1989 – Enlisted and completed Basic Training
1989/90 – Completed Signals Intelligence Analyst course
1990 – Graduated from the Defense Language Institute for Chinese, Mandarin
1991/92 – Stationed at Ft. Lewis, Washington
1992 – Honorably discharged
Scroll to the end of this post for links containing all the juicy details.
This year’s Veterans Day inspired me to finally write about my life in the Army. I am a veteran because I was on active duty during Desert Shield. I was stationed at the Presidio at the time, studying Chinese, but having completed my Signals Intelligence Analyst course just prior, I was eligible for deployment overseas..
The idea of going to war, of participating in a war was just that to me; an idea. When the possibility became a reality I was shaken to my core. I did not want to go. I was terrified I might have to do what I’d pledged to do and I am grateful I never did. A technicality made me a veteran. Those who felt that fear and served anyway – whether reluctantly or passionately – they are the heroes who are to be honored on Veterans Day.
Twenty-one years later and now a mother, when people learn of my veteran status they ask if I would want my children to join the Army.
I don’t know what I would have done or where I would have gone if I hadn’t joined the Army. What was my choice? Remain on the day-shift at the auto-parts factory while renting a basement apartment until . . . what? The Army was good to me and it set me on the path towards this amazing life I lead today. For my children however, it is my goal – my job – to ensure they have choices. Then and only then if they still choose a military life will I of course support them.
Thanks for reading this series that has been a pleasure to write. Take your own trip down memory lane and Visit Salvation. I’d love to hear and share your story.