Sunday, July 8, 2007


You stay up for 16 hours.
He stays up for days on end.

You take a warm shower to help you wake up.
He goes days or weeks without running water.

You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.
He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.

You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.
He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.

You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.
He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.

You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.
He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.
He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.

You complain about how hot it is.
He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.
He doesn't get to eat today.

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.
He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.
He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.

You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.
He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.
He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.
He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.
He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.
He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.
He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.

You see only what the media wants you to see.
He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.
He does exactly what he is told.

You stay at home and watch TV.
He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.
He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.

You sit there and judge him, saying the world is probably a worse place because of men like him.
If only there were more men like him


Plain Foolish said...

I can't speak for anyone else. I can only speak for me.

I stayed up many nights, praying for my dad's safety, praying that he wouldn't have to use the gun I saw him practicing with. I woke up in the middle of the night, knowing something was wrong, but with no chance of finding out what. I crocheted on a blanket for him through sleepless nights until my fingers were numb.

I wake up in the morning and thank God that my dad is here again, in body at least. I write to my representatives, knowing that my parents taught me the responsibility of citizens to be part of the governance of this country.

I go to work with a splitting headache because my leave was exhausted 2 months ago, with constant travel to visit with my mother who has been doing her work plus keeping my dad's business going while he was deployed.

I don't wear a t-shirt, unless I found it secondhand because I have no idea under what conditions that shirt was made - what child was kept at work 18 hours to make it. Besides, my tax refund went to care packages, so I'm not going to spend money on a shirt I can only wear 2 days a week.

I, like most Americans, do not have a maid, nor am I likely to get one any day soon. After I get home, I'll have to find the energy to pick up the living room, make dinner, wash my hair, and suck up and soldier on. My cell phone is a treasured connection, full of possibility. Perhaps today, I'll hear from him, or maybe he'll answer an email.

I hear that soldiers are being "extended" and rage at the radio until my husband turns it off.

I worry when a friend writes that his ship will be leaving soon, and they expect to be sent later in the year to the sandbox.

I am angry because my dad's loyalty and service are being abused.

I criticize my government when the wounded are housed with rats and other vermin after they've come home. I criticize my government when my dad is given the wrong body armor. I criticize my government when billions disappear with no accounting while soldiers are sent unsafe equipment. Damned right, I criticize my government.

I criticize my government when it ignores the commission it created and puts even more lives at risk. I criticize my government because my dad put his life on the line for me not to live in a tyranny, and because there is more than one way to live bravely. My dad who helped to teach me that words tend to solve more than fists.

I criticize my government when I learn that they are employing torture. Guilty? Innocent? The waterboard doesn't know the difference.

I do not and will not joke about the war. I said goodbye to my father, the taste of bile still in my mouth, because there was no time to brush my teeth after I vomited from worry.

I hear his voice from half the world away, and can't feel at peace, even in a bustling farmer's market - right between jars of apple butter and handsewn aprons.

Despite my heartbreak, I smile bravely, knowing he takes strength from his family.

I am on call. No matter what I am doing, it stops if the cell phone rings. And I smile, because he can hear the difference.

I know the world is a better place because of him. I know that when he is here, he treats people, often people who have little money. I have known him to treat people for nothing. I pray that my government will leave enough of him to allow him to continue to improve the world.

James R. Giusti said...

Plain Foolish

I read your blog every day. Thank you dad for me. I am retired Navy and can only say thank you for your sacrfice to.

I am feed up with our government to on this issue and many more.

God bless.

Plain Foolish said...

Thank you. Thank you both for your kind words, and for your service. I have been reading your blog as well. When I read this, I saw red. Thank you for posting it - it needed to be dragged into the light and exposed for the falsehood that it is.

It enrages me that this administration has gutted the system designed to support our service members and veterans, but hides behind those same people the moment someone points out their lies and thefts. It is we the people who tell our service members what their service to us will be, and it's way past time that we put an end to the abuse.

Y'all deserve better.

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