Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Being home is..... different

I have to start off by saying that I am loving being back home. I've been having a great time so far, and I still have much more fun stuff planned in the next week or so that I will be back. Shoot, the Arizona State Fair is in town and I still have yet to go to that! I can't wait, because I hear that they have 14 new rides, bringing the grand total to sowhere around 75. I haven't had the chance to go to the fair in years, because the time when it is normally in town I had been stuck in NC thanks to the Army. So its a nice suprise to have the fair in town and I will definatly be hitting that up here soon.

Time at first was going VERY slow. The first 4 days seemed like over a week to me and I was excited at the possibility that my leave would take so long to pass. Now things seem to be going by quicker and with the different plans that I am trying to juggle and make work with the limited number of days I have left, it feels like there is just not enough time. The past 3 days have flown by and I dont like that. I don't know if its a shift in my perception or attitude or what, but I want things to be back how they were; taking forever!

I won't go in to all the little details of everything I've done while I've been back so far, but just know that I am truly have a great time. This is by far the best leave that I have ever had while in the Army and I'm stoked that things are going so well. One thing of note is that I ended up buying a handgun a few days ago. I'll throw up a picture, but it sure is a sweet peice of work. Ironically the state of Arizona put me on a delayed hold to get my gun, so it took 4 or 5 days until I was actually able to pick it up. In case anyone is wondering what kind it is, its a Sig Saur 229 .40 S&W!! Its funny because I had never fired a handgun, not even with the Army and so when I went to test fire it, I was pretty much figuring things out as I went. I had them explain some things to me quickly, but I didn't want them to think that I had never done this because I was afraid they would not let me shoot off some ammo on the range. Anyways, once I got everything figured out I had a blast with it and much to my suprise my shooting was pretty dead on. This was also the first time that I had ever fired any gun outside of the Army, and this purchase was my first firearm purchase. I definatly think I made a great first purchase though and I'm loving it! Its just too bad I can't bring that bad boy back to Iraq with me! :)

Sig Saur 229 .40 S&W

Being on leave I've had a lot of time to appreciate all the little things in life and about being back home that I took for granted before in my life. The place looks so beautiful and clean and safe and its just such a change from where I have been living for almost the past year. It is absolutely amazing to be back in such a wonderful place again you have no idea. But one thing that I had thought might bother me when I thought about coming home has in a way done just that. What I figured before I left to come home was that seeing everyone going about their daily lives, with not a care in the world might irk me a little bit. And to be honest it has.

Now don't get me wrong, I dont have any feelings of hatred or anything like that, but I guess it kind of bugs me that the general public has "turned the channel" on the Iraq war. The war has been going on for almost 5 years, and even longer for the war in Afghanistan, and I believe with the attitudes of a lot of the people in Congress and the Main Stream Media, that people have had plenty of reason to feel the way they do towards this war. The problem for me is that life over there is hell at times. We do what we do thinking about back home, and thinking about the difference it makes for the people in Iraq, back home, and around the world, and to come back and see people going about their daily lives, tuned out to the war that is going on, well, it just puts a knot in my stomach sometimes. I mean, I guess I should be happy, that people are able to go about their lives in such a manner, to where they don't have to "worry" about the war, but I think the complete general disconnect between the American people's lives and the lives of those fighting to protect just that is what gets to me.

Trust me too in that I know not everone is like this. I mean, those of you who are even reading this right now show me that there are people, lots of people who do care and who are truly thankful and interested in what the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines are doing over there. I don't want to wrap up everyone within the blanket of feelings that I have from the previous paragraph, but I do feel that those people are the vast majority of the people in America today. I've even heard some very hateful things coming from the mouths of people in positions to influence the masses that just truly pisses me off.

It makes me wonder sometimes. But thinking back, I guess I should be thankful. I read about and see video and pictures from the 60's and 70's and the things that the soldiers of that time and that war had to deal with when coming home was 100,000 times worse. I have to tip my hat to those guys for they are great men to of come through all of that. I can only imagine how tough that must of been, and in retrospect maybe its really not all that bad now. We do have the support of most Americans, as soldiers, even if they do not support George Bush or the war. But something about it still just sits weird with me.


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21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I have read your blog from the begining and our family has been through the worst!!! Your entries have been very helpful in giving us here at home an understanding or a glimpse into what our soldier was thinking and feeling when he could not express those emotions to us. Your blogg has sort of bridged the gap. Thank you so much for taking the time to write and most of all THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Anonymous said...

First, thank you for your service and writing this blog.
I was a teenager through the Viet Nam war and my boyfriend/now husband was drafted just prior to the war ending and was never inducted. Currently we have supported troops for years through several support groups and many flat rate shipments and various donations. What strikes us about this war is how so many people do not have the war on their radar at all. I see the glazed eyes
of co-workers when discussing Afghanistan or Iraq. And yet, maybe soldiers overseas would hope that citizens carry on everyday life to keep this country moving. We have a soldier in the desert now and I know he does not want us worrying day and night. But there is a difference between worry and being informed and aware and that our country is involved in a war. I wonder how many citizens take the time to read (not listen to MSM) anything regarding Iraq or Afghanistan. What disturbs us most is the separation between returning soldier and citizen which has been a recurring theme in some blogs and news articles. One thing our country has learned from Viet Nam is we will not treat our returning soldiers as they were treated post Viet Nam. There is honest support, thank-yous, and appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice of not only the soldier, but of his/her family. Yet we hear and read of soldiers drawing a line between themselves and civilians. The brotherhood of "they don't understand, they haven't been there". Each soldier processes deployment/redeployment differently. Civilians will never fully understand what was experienced, but this time around there are many people who will listen with open hearts and compassion to experiences and memories carried by those who have served. Blogging has also helped those of us back home get a glimpse into the life of the deployed soldier. So thanks again for taking the time to write.

Glad you're having a great time!
Cathy B

David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 10/24/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

lela said...

I wanted to comment responding to your post...but Cathy B. said everything I wanted to say (probably better). I particularly want to echo her comments about how bloggers, particularly milbloggers like you, have helped me understand what our brave young men & women experience over there.

Haole Wahine said...

I echo Lela and Cathy B's comments.

Cathy Thank you for your eloquence.

I was not a teenager, I was an adult married to a sailor at the end of Viet Nam. The sub patroled out of Guam, but we were stationed in Pearl. All portals to the Mainland seemed to run through Hawaii and on to California. We, traveling with my husband, and our friends in uniform had to endure many many hateful experiences from our fellow countrymen --- not indifference. Pure hate ! ! !

So bad, that the military finally relaxed having to fly in uniform.

And this is why I do what I do now, as I tell my guys and gals in the military ---- so you know there is at least one person that wants you to know how much you and your family's service/sacrifice is appreciated. When I am out and about getting my "care packages" together, people in line or managers ALWAYS kick in, write notes, and send messages of support. So, it is wide spread support, just not vocal.

On the subject of milblogs --- okay I wonder if the comment field has a limit of lines? I am involved behind the scenes in some mil blogs, and I tell my bloggers to look at their sitemeters. It is amazing how many, many, many people read the blog, but never comment.

We are seeing the results of the mil blogging, in keeping the FACTS before the American public. I can hardly wait for history to write about the mil blogging influences during this time. So Yes, ED keep keeping on, and remember you are a warrior, and YOU HAVE MADE A DIFFERENCE.

I hoped ED would never have to write this post, but he is correct in his observations. He knows the email is coming, but it will be kind, for I love his efforts and his perservering.

Sheila in Mesa said...

I grew up hearing about how our Vietnam veterans were treated, which is why I make a point of sending cards, letters and packages to AnySoldier.com contacts. It's appalling to me that our men were treated with such disrespect and I don't want it to be repeated. Sure, I'm going about my daily life, but not a day goes by that I don't think of our troops. Not a week goes by that several letters or postcards don't go out in the mail. I'll never know what it's like to be in your combat boots, but I respect your service.

Infantry Dad said...

Ed,
Just remember to live every day like it's your last.
You'll have no regrets.
Thanks for stopping bye and feel free to link back.
I'm happy to hear from all soldiers. And will always reply.
ID or DaD for short.

Army Wife said...

welcome home, and your irritation with civilians will be present at a high level for a few months. They will become tolerable at a later point...

thank you for your service.

Joel said...

I'm a big fan of war movies and the latest which caught my attention is 'Saints and Soldiers'. I'm honored to read a blog from the army! :)

Solo said...

Great reply there Cathy B! I too grew up in the V/N era. E.D. I'm not sure the perception of people tunining out the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere is entirely correct. I hear and ama part of discussions pretty much every day, I see reminders every day. I do wish more people would read the milblogs(most seem to get thousands of hits), but even the MSM at times seems to be coming around. I even saw an article in a liberal university news paper about the Anbar Awakening. Everybody getting on with our lives is just part of "home maintenance." Don't sweat the doomsday pontificaters. That's our war at home and blogs are the frontline. Just keep having a good time and when you meet up with a Vietnam Vet, shake his hand and tell 'em "Welcome Home." That will mean a lot coming from you.

membrain said...

Mixed feelings are inevitable when returning home from a war zone. I just feel honoured to be able to read about your thoughts, experiences and feelings. It's a historic event to be able to read about what a Soldier experiences in real time while you are actually taking part in making history in Iraq. You're probably aware, but if not you are now, that while you are on leave Gary Trudeau's book The Sandbox is being released and I know you have some entries in the book, so congratulations on that. I wish you all the best that life has to offer.

Jim D.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ed,
I wanted to comment when I first read this entry, but waited overnight to collect my thoughts. It just broke my heart to know that you feel this way. I returned to find that Cathy B said everything I wanted to say, and far better than I could have said it. Not only are you making history in Iraq, you are helping to write the history of this war. I want to thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts with us and to thank you for you service. You make us all so very proud!
Debbie

Ky Woman said...

I too echo all the preceding comments. I had an older brother who served during the Vietnam era. The milblogs of today would have helped our perception of that war, If only it had been available then...
Even when I go about my normal daily routine, I always hurry home to check for updates on all the milblogs I currently read. I don't always take the opportunity to comment though. It's amazing to me that somehow the men and women writing them become an extension of my family. I worry about them as I do my own children. They and you are always in my thoughts and prayers.
We as a nation will never be able to show our servicemembers how much their sacrifices are appreciated. Thanks never seems to be quite adequate, but You do have my sincere Thanks and gratitude. Welcome Home Soldier!
Yes, You do make us proud!
(Have you considered continuing the blog stateside? We would love to keep up with you as you transition back to our normalacy)

AirborneParaInf82 said...

Thank you everyone who has commented or emailed me to show support. I just want to clarify a couple things.

1) I do understand that most people do care, others in more ways than some, but most DO care. I'm not trying to marginalize that at all. I see this day in a day out!

2) Also know that I am happy that people are able to continue to live their lives in peace. That is the sign of success after 9/11, that we were able to pick up the peices and move on. Not forget, but continue living in remeberence.

It has just been a shock to see that most people are not focused on the war and whats going on, which I guess makes sense. If you don't personally know someone there, then it would be hard. One thing that really has been a suprise, is that until today, I haven't heard ANYTHING about Iraq or Afghanistan on the TV. Granted I dont watch the news all the time, but I figured I would of heard more by now, but I havent. Guess it goes to show that when things are quiet, there is no story for the news to sell.

So again, thank you for the comments and all, and know that I'm not bitter about how it is back home. It just has come as a totally suprise. I guess the same holds true the other way, where some people have one perception of over here, and when they learn the truth it is shocking.

willo said...

There's not much I can add to all the previous posts. They've covered my feeling so well. But I want you to know this: My family thinks about this war everyday, I have flags flying, banners on my fence, yellow ribbons on my trees, and my BlueStar Flag in my window. On the car are Support stickers and magnets, Ft. Bragg Stickers, Airborne Stickers, Ft. Benning Stickers, 1-504 Stickers, Iraq War Veteran Sticker, I guess they problably refer to me as the crazy sticker lady in this small town. But I want everyone to know that (#1) I have a son in Baghdad now on his second tour. He's just 21 years old and has celebrated his last 2 birthdays in Iraq, and will celebrate his 22nd over there too. (#2) I want everyone who drives by my house or sees my car or my Proud Army Mom t-shirt, or Airborne t-shirt, or Ft.Bragg coffee cup, that I am proud of every one of you and I think about you, pray for you, and worry about you every day, almost every hour. My computer desk, my mantle, my walls and my wallet are all filled with pictures of my boy who I consider my hero. It amazes me that he, you, and the rest of the service people are so young, so fresh out of high school, into the military, and into war, yet continue to just do it on a daily basis, and with no whining. I love you one and all, and I pray for this madness to end so you can all come home soon.
Now, go to the fair and have a wonderful time. There are millions of us here at home standing behind you.
hugs and love from TX,

M. Simon said...

Here is a song for you and your loved ones when you go back:

The author of I Wanna Go Home, Karridine, has authorized me to give away 1,000 free copies of the song to our men and women in the military for personal use only. However, recipients of a free copy can let anybody listen to it if they want. Members of the military can put it on their i-pod, use it on their computer, or make one CD.

You can find out how to get a free copy at 1,000 Free Copies.

If you want a copy for review e-mail me. My e-mail address is on the sidebar.

Sparkel said...

Everyone here has said everything I could every aspire to say, and then better.

Alls that left for me,

Is you humble me.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hey, glad you made it back stateside and are enjoying your stay. I'm from the Phoenix area too, and here is hoping you have a grand time. I'd buy you a beer too, but you've probably had enough of that by now.

Come back safe.

BrianFH said...

Remember this?
Budweiser Ad.
Still chokes me on the 50th viewing.
Thanks.

Steve Nicks said...

I know that I'm just saying that same damn thing as everybody else that's left a comment here, but thank you!! The work you do is very much appreciated. We are all in debt to you for the life that we lead here in the US. The fact that people are able to "turn the channel" and live our life as if nothing is going on, is soley because of men and women like yourself. Thank You!!

Wolf Lover Girl said...

BrianFH... I LOVE that Budweiser Ad, it makes me cry everytime....

~ Wolf Lover Girl