I caught myself thinking “at least I don’t have to worry about that anymore” when I heard Marines were being sent back to Afghanistan to assist in the evacuation.
I was immediately heartbroken and embarrassed to have even thought those words.
I trained for years to go to Afghanistan. I “grew up” into the Marine Corps with stories of Iraq and Afghanistan. I spent time in training, schools, and real-life researching, assessing, and briefing the conflict. I sent Marines there on deployments. I moved my household “chasing” a deployment to Afghanistan that ended up being cancelled. I never experienced a ground deployment, just a nine month cruise in a big grey box.
The truth is, I will always worry about Afghanistan. And Iraq. And anywhere our service members go that puts them in harms way. And those places where I’ve studied the culture and the people. I will always know Marines. I will always think of their families, of the fear, and of the missed moments. I will always think “what if I could be there with them.” I will always think about the people struggling to make ends meet in those locations and the ones willing to fall from an airplane to get out of those situations. It’s a part of me now. And I know it’s a much bigger part of my brothers and sisters who spent time on the ground in those places.
One of my biggest regrets from my time in service is not having deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. One of my biggest points of thanks from my time in service is not having deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. I think on it often—more often than I wish. I have nightmares about sending my Marines into situations where they don’t come back. I am so thankful that I never had to bear that—so many of my friends have.
I pray for the Devil Dogs and soldiers holding the line at the airport right now. For those I know and those I don’t, and their families. I pray for the people of Afghanistan—I wish we could have done this a little differently. To those that lost their lives today, I mourn with the country and wish I could provide some comfort to the families and fellow service members with them.
My heart is heavy.
Love others. Love self. Love coffee.
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