Daily Life of a Marine Mom

A Piece of My Heart is home from Iraq

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Friday, January 27, 2006

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Just a warning here... this is a rather intense post discussing some situations that some of the more tender-hearted of you (especially moms) may not want to read. Please .. if you don't want to hear some of the negative things that happen, don't read this because I am talking about life and death situations here and the fact that our Marines are at times required to kill insurgents.

Just wanted to pass on that Eric called me earlier today and he sounds great. Sometimes I wonder about him ... he said that he was having fun. Said he gets to sit in the hooch in the daytime and play xbox with his buddies and then go out at night and shoot a big gun and help blow things up, how much better can life get (his words!!). I guess if you have to be a Marine though that is the attitude to have. I did ask him about that firefight they had with the insurgents last week and he did confirm that he was involved in that. He even said that was awesome (arghhhhhh), but if anyone had gotten hurt he wouldn't have looked at it that way, but God was watching out for them [the Marines].

We talked about some things that have happened at home. One of the guys he was suppose to sign up with into the Marine Corps (and ended up going a year earlier because Eric took an extra year to actually graduate) was honorably discharge from the Marine Corps recently. He actually got out six months earlier than he was suppose to because of the fact that he couldn't bear the thought of going back to Iraq. Apparently he had taken it very hard when he actually had to kill an insurgent during a firefight his first time there (in 2004) and it had affected him deeply. His mother (who is a biker friend of mine) told me that after all ... she had raised him not to kill anybody (she actually said that!) and that was why it had affected him so deeply.

Now I truly don't think she understood what that meant to me when she said it. That was one of those touchy situations that could have become ugly if I had taken offense to what was said. Of course what immediately came to my mind was .. so does she think that those of us that have sons who can deal with the morality of survival better raised them to think it was okay to kill someone?!? Because I sure didn't raise my sweet, generous boy to think it was okay to kill. I did raise him to respect life in all its myraid forms. I also raised him to expect respect from others and to honor his own life and everyone else. But he never held a gun until he was in the Marine Corps. He has always been kind and loving to all people and I don't think that being an infantry Marine is going to change that. But I didn't say anything about her statement back to her because I knew that wasn't really what she meant and she was just trying to rationalize her own son's desire to not return to Iraq (I can't blame him at all, he served a hard year there). Sometimes it is just bettter to not take offense at something someone says because they are not thinking about how it could affect your perceptions, they are only thinking about how it affects THEM. Too bad more people don't realize this about each other. It would save a lot of heartache in some of the internet support groups I belong to! The written word can convey even worse impressions at times that can cause huge battles internally in some of these groups. We will have to get into that some other time though because that is a topic onto itself hehe.

Eric's take on what happens there [in Iraq] is this .. he stated that you have to take it all and put it in a little box in your brain and realize that it is you or them. If you are fighting for your life, you can't take the time to analyze if the other guy deserves to die or not, he (or she) is trying to kill YOU. Eric doesn't seem to have a problem with it when it comes to protecting his fellow Marines which actually is a very good thing because THEY cannot hesitate if they do face a life or death situation. I hope the ones that have his back have the same attitude because it WILL KEEP THEM ALIVE THROUGH THIS. It makes me wonder though, if some time in the future the things they HAVE to do will pile up and try to break out of that little box in their brain where they are being kept. The ideal thing will be if they can let this stuff go when they get home. Just empty out that little box in the great junkyard in the sky. Its what they need to do.

In any case .. his platoon seems to be doing their job and doing it happily. I hope I didn't offend anyone talking about some of these things. Eric has always shared with me and I am sure that he will share much more than I actually want to hear when he gets home!

Semper fidelis and God Bless you all.

Comments: |
This is a wonderful post...
 
Dear Mom,

Your son is doing a fine job. He has reservations about what he is doing, but he recognizes it is his duty to perform his job because it is necessary to save lives. He doesn't tell you every time he has reservations because he is male. Whether you brought him up that way or not, the USMC will have shown him that sometimes you have to accept the imperfect in order to move on down the road of progress. The military is, after all, a team. And they all have to move towards a common goal.

The way to get to that goal may not always seem to be 100 percent the best way, but it is the chosen way. It could have been chosen to be much worse (with lots more US casualties possible) or even much better (with almost no US casualties and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead, but our morality completely wiped away).

As his Mother, I know his situation is worrying and harrying for you. As parents, we can't live our child's life for them, make their burden easier once they reach 18, or even comfort them when they need it most, once they are gone. As you pointed out about his friend's mother, everyone has their own fears and perceptions regarding their situation. All we can do is teach our children to talk to us or others about their problems when they feel they need to.

Your son sounds like an outstanding Marine, and a great American. He may never receive medals, awards, money, or personal fame. But he is doing his duty well, and he makes my family and I feel safe and secure. He is a member of the finest organization in the world, and I, for one, am extremely grateful for his dedication to his duty and self sacrifice for his country, his family, his shipmates.

I pray you and your peers, who raised such fine young Men, will always find comfort and hope in the support of Americans for your son's devotion and sense of duty. Your role in providing stalwart youngsters to defend those of us who can't or won't do so anymore is a role worthy of the finest awards and celebrations we can muster. You may not see it soon. But it is there for all military Moms, in the hearts of Americans everywhere. God Bless all of you for your support, your worries, and sometimes, God forbid, your sacrifices for us. Thank you, Ma'am.

Subsunk
 
subsunk ... thank you so much for that post. you have no idea how it touches my heart to have people like you and your family appreciate what our sons and daughters in the military have to do for their country. One response like yours make it all worthwhile. I will be sending this on to my son. Thank you!
 
Mom,

You are most welcome. But it is I whom am the grateful one. To You, your son, and your family. God Bless You all. There are many, many, many more of those of us who feel this way than you or your son can ever imagine.

Press on, to Victory and a well deserved Homecoming.

Subsunk
 
As a mom of an 8 year old boy, I want to thank your son, for doing what must be done in order to ensure our safety. My little boy wants to be a soldier when he grows up. I would never be more proud if he could become someone like your son. He exemplifies what it is to be a Marine. Your family's sacrifice is never out of our thoughts & prayers. God bless you all!
 
I know just how you feel. When my son was in Ramadi and there was a lot of nasty fighting there (before and after he returned wounded), I told him I sure wished he didn't have to expereince that stuff at 20. He told me he was "OK" with it in his head... he knew they were the bad guys and that we were trying to do good things and to protect our way of life (among other things).

He would never hurt anyone or anything that wasn't trying to harm him or his family or brothers. He is a good, kind, generous, loving human being who understands that it's ok to be those things and be a soldier, too.
 
First off, please thank your son for me. From one mother of a soldier to another, my son told me the exact same things, but it never once made me any less worried. I can only hope for his sake that as time passes that he will be able to have a good night sleep again. If he only knew how many night I layed in bed wondering if he was ok or if he was hungry or cold.

My son arrived home from his tour on Christmas eve, and I have slept so much better since that wonderful day.

Thank your son for me please, and we are all here for you if you need us.
 
MarineMom,

I just discovered your blog today via a link from the Mudville Gazette's Dawn Patrol. I absolutely love your blog. This was such a wonderful post... I will be linking to you, if you don't mind.

Politics of a Patriot--future Marine
 
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