Military life has been foreign to me my entire life until recently. I never really understood what it was all about-even though I grew up in a military town and my dad was in the Navy and heard some of his stories about being at sea. As a little girl, all I really knew was that the marines were the guys with their hair cut short and they whistled a lot-at women. Of course I have understood the basics but really respecting and empathizing with someone who has a family member in the military was not part of my reality.
However, over the last several years my heart has been touched by some truly inspiring military families. For one, my sister. Her husband is a corpsman and has been to Iraq several times. His deployment has made me think more about what it would be like to have my husband away with no guarantees of his return. The worry and loneliness would have me at my knees. I have also befriended several military wives and have been extremely moved by their personal situations and challenges.
Two in particular are amazingly strong and brash women who have given me many gifts in so many ways. I am so grateful for their friendships. Their husbands are amazing men serving our country with dedication and loyalty. When my family found out the Welch family was moving to Hawaii, we knew we had to make a special trip to visit them. Merrik and Maliea continue to miss Gavyn almost as much as I miss her mom.
On the same trip, while in Waikiki, we also knew that we wanted to take Merrik to Pearl Harbor. I had been there as a child but it had literally been since I was about eight years old. So Jim, Uncle Greg, Merrik and I ventured off to see the Mighty Mo while Maliea and Aunt Cindy went shopping.
Being on the deck of the Missouri (top 8 photos above) was awe inspiring but when Merrik begged to go on the USS Bowfin (lower 7 photos above), and I was excited to join him. I was really blown away. We walked the entire length of the submarine inside and let me tell you it was small. I’ve spent time on a boat at sea but most of the time I spent was on deck-even in the middle of the night. If I had to do a passage down below the entire time, I’d go nuts. What an intense experience it must have been for those boys/men.
I always get shivers when I think about what it must have been like at the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor as well as the intense day to day desert fighting going on in Afghanistan. I wish war wasn’t an option and I wish that Armistice Day really did mark the end of the “War to end all wars.” I truly honor and respect the men and women who are giving their lives for the beliefs of our country. I couldn’t do it so it is truly an inspiration to know people with that amount of commitment and responsibility.
The closest I’ve ever been to war is when I was in high school, I wanted to be a war photographer. No shit. I really did. Even though I had no clue what it really meant. All I was thinking about was adventure and an alternative lifestyle. I didn’t want kids so I thought it would be cool. I think I saw The Year of Living Dangerously and felt that was my calling. Thankfully I didn’t follow through. I just pursued the adventure and alternative lifestyle idea for several years by traveling, climbing and sailing the world.
and a must see is War Photographer – James Nachtwey.