Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Flight 939

As I settled into the worn out seat of 5D on flight 939 from Denver to San Diego, I couldn't help but notice the nervous rustling that was going on all around me. It felt like I was in the forest and all the leaves were beginning to rustle in every direction...the temperature was dropping in anticipation of the incoming storm...the sky was getting darker...everyone was looking at the those around them hoping someone had the answer...hoping someone has the right words that will make everyone feel ok and that everything is going to be alright.

I turn to the young man sitting next to me. He is just like the 30 or so others he seems to be traveling with that are surrounding me. They are all very young looking. they are pretty clean cut. Most of them look like they've just graduated from high school. They all look scared as &!;^%$. I say, "are ya'll part of some type of group or something?" He looks at me and says, "yeah we're all going to be starting 'basic training' for the Marine Corps tonight." I look at him and with an excited and cheerful face and voice I say, "Wow that's awesome!"

Naturally I begin to inquire about everything....What will you eat? How long will they keep you awake? What kind of guns do you get trained on? What will be the hardest part for you? What's the failure rate? Why do you want to do this? Are you sure you want to do this? The last question we discussed several times throughout my two hour interrogation of him:) He told me that every hour for the past several weeks he has asked himself if this is really what he wants. He will go through rigorous mental and physical challenges. The next five years of his life will be devoted to the Marines.

I couldn't help but think to myself how hard it would be for me to be in the armed services. Basic training, traveling around the world to dangerous locations, being out of contact with my loved ones for long periods of time, possibly killing people. I know I could do it if I had to but I'm so thankful I don't have to. The soon-to-be soldier sitting next to me said, "it's definitely not for everyone...it has to be a passion of yours otherwise you'll hate it." My point here is that the flight from Denver to San Diego made me realize even more how thankful and proud we should be for all of our soldiers and for those that risk their lives to protect what we cherish most...FREEDOM!

There are times when I take for granted all the luxuries I'm afforded in this country. I forget how we got here and what keeps us here. Although our country is going through a very hard time right now being both at war overseas and in the financial crisis we have here at home, I take great comfort in knowing that the pride and determination of this country is still alive. The young men that surrounded me on the plane last night proved that to me and will help ensure that our country remains safe. Let's not forget that there is a reason the United States of America is the greatest power in the free world. We must never loose faith in the systems our country was founded on and that once again we will see better times!

To all the armed service personell who may read this from anywhere in the world....I sincerely thank you for all that you do.


Kate W. said...

As the granddaughter of a former marine, I know the dedication and commitment it takes to be in the marines. So to anyone who may be reading this who is in the armed forces, thank you for your commitment to this country. Semper Fi Hoo Ra

Civilian to Marine Officer said...

That's a great post. What a good story--makes you proud of young Americans these days joining up.

J said...

Thank you for taking the time out to remember those who serve our country. You have a gift in your writing, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog today!

PS---So you tend to ask lots of questions too?

Have fabulous training trip in San Diego!

Garrett said...

Thanks...I'm glad you liked the story...it was intense.

We must always remember those who've served our country...I ask tons of questions. Seriously, I'm interested in anything in and everything:)

Gina said...

What a great story. Did he answer your questions?

I have to tell you this: Most of us who have served or are serving want to hear THANK YOU. If it's heart felt, we'll know it and we'll simply smile our welcome. It's so easy to forget what it is that we in the military do. People sometimes neglect to understand, so I must tell you, Garrett, THANK YOU for trying to understand.

Our sacrifices can never be understood by those who never serve, but if you make the attempt, thanks. :)

Robin said...

As the spouse of a deployed soldier, I want to thank you right back. My husband and I are relieved to hear whenever the rest of the country hasn't forgotten about our servicemembers around the world and what they're being asked to do.

Christina said...

"We must always remember those who've served our country..."
This is so true. In the Netherlands we remeber those who have sacrificed their (Amercain, English and Canadian) lives to make us a free country again on the fourth of May. On the fifth we celebrate freedom, the freedom we are able to enjoy because of all those soldiers/ marines who are abroad to ensure safety en peace.
It doesn't matter where we live, if it weren't for them we wouldn't live peacefully even here in the Netherlands.
Congrats on yet another well written blog.

gr. Christina

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