WHY I'M IN |
December 20, 2006
WHY I'M IN
Name: Army Girl
Posting date: 12/20/06
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog url: http://desertphoenix.blogspot.com
"Why do you stay in the military?", my friends and family ask me, and I look at them, dumbfounded. I have to pause and stop myself from saying something really hurtful and sarcastic. There's a war going on. Two, in fact. There are people being buried in mass graves, children starving and women so desperate that they'll come up to you on the street and beg you to take their baby girls home with you to America. They single me out because I'm a woman. And despite my weapons, my uniform and everything we use for protection and intimidation, they know, they think, they want to believe, that their daughters would have a better life with me than they themselves can give them. They must sense that my heart breaks every single time I think about it.
I serve so that these women have the hope of bringing their daughters up without subjecting them to the kind of life they have had to live. Americans have it so great, and don't get it. Any one of those women could have been my grandmother, 50 or so years ago, in Korea, trying to give away her daughters -- a burden on the family, another mouth to feed, another dowry to come up with. I know that my amazing, generous, self-sacrificing and beautiful grandmother could never have imagined that she would have a daughter like my mom, whose strength and pride brought her through so many hardships, successes and struggles. Or granddaughters like my sisters -- giving, intelligent, and the world theirs to conquer. Or me, someone who despite everything and no matter how hard I try, will never be even one one-hundredth of the person she was. All I can do is hope to honor her memory by living my life to the fullest, whatever that entails, and holding on to that. Being true to myself, my heart, my dreams and what makes me tick.
It just occurred to me that of the girls that I'm close to here, one was born to Iranian parents (and she's served several more years than I have, and really cares), another was born to Philippino parents (and she's dedicated herself to this mission completely), and another is of Mexican heritage (and she's outside the wire as I write this). All of these girls are trying to bring to Afghanistan something more than what they have. I can't speak for them all, but I know that's why I'm in, and will stay in, this fight in one capacity or another, until my time is up and I've given all that I have to give.