IT WAS MEMORIAL DAY |
October 10, 2006
IT WAS MEMORIAL DAY
Name: Zachary Scott-Singley
Posting date: 10/10/06
Returned from: Iraq
Milblog url: http://misoldierthoughts.blogspot.com/
I cried. It was Memorial Day and it hit me so hard, my first Memorial Day since leaving the Army. My wife watched me and felt helpless as I sat there and quietly broke down in long silent sobs as the memories came flooding back and the guilt started again. She didn't know exactly what to do. She made sure my son and daughter were still playing together in the other room and she held me.
She suggested we go to my father's house so that I could talk to him. He had served in Vietnam and I knew he would know what I was going through. I drove without saying a word as I turned on the radio to NPR and listened to vets talk about those they lost. They had one vet for each war since World War I. I drove with big rolling tears quietly so that my children wouldn't know that their father was so weak right then.
I saw my father in his backyard watering the grass and as I walked up to him Tara drove off with the kids. I crumpled in a heap when he turned to me and I couldn't make it stop. Memories I thought I had filed away came flying back hitting me, and without control I finally sobbed aloud as he walked over and extended his hand.
The only thing he said just then was, “You feel guilty don't you?” He knew without even needing to ask. I was so very grateful for him at that moment. Not to have to talk about it and try to explain, just being able to have someone understand without asking anything was like gold. After a few minutes I calmed down and asked him if it was ever that hard for him. He told me it was. The memories, and feeling that guilt for coming back alive while so many others have died, both soldiers and civilians. That was all I could think about that day: Why me? God, why did you let me live when you took so many others? But it wasn't God; it was us, mankind that did this.
My father helped me put myself back together piece by piece until I felt complete again and that it was over. The rest of the day was uneventful, but in the back of my mind I realize that the guilt is still there. It always was, I just didn't see it until that day. I love you Dad, and I know why you came back alive from Vietnam. You came back because I needed you.