Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Proud to be an American

Edit: The above photo is a Howitzer. It is not our photo, but this is what my husband lived in while in Desert Storm. When it was cold they all huddled inside to keep warm. When the weather turned warm they made tentlike shelters outside the Howitzer.

My husband was in the Marine Corp Reserves when we were 1st married. I didn't wish him a Happy Marine Birthday yesterday! We were a very young 22 and 24 year old in 1990. The reserve unit called a few days before Thanksgiving and told him that he had to leave all contact information for where he could be reached over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. We were going to Mobile with our new four month old baby. We were contacted Thanksgiving that he would be deploying to Desert Storm. He reported to the reserve unit the following week and plans were made for him to leave. They sent them to California to attach them to a unit there and deploy. He was still in California for Christmas so my first Christmas with my first baby I spent separated from her as I flew to California and spent the weekend with my husband. We went with three other couples to Disney Land on Christmas day. We stopped in front of the entrance sign and asked the first available person to take our picture and they happened to be from a town near Huntsville in Alabama. Isn't it funny how you can travel all the way to the other side of the United States and meet people from home? We also went to Sea World, Universal Studios, Hollywood, and downtown LA to the Chinese Theatre. It was one of those bittersweet experiences where you are glad to see them again but have already spent a month fighting the fear inside you that your husband is going to war and may not return. Compound that with the fact that you are not spending Christmas as a family together with your firstborn, and wondering if you ever will.

I bought a plane ticket with a week's notice for traveling the few days before Christmas which was the most expensive possible way to buy a ticket. We made around $14K that year so we didn't have the money for me to fly. All I know is I received a call that he was getting the weekend off for Christmas and to come. My MIL let me borrow the money and I did it. Not only that, a week later I received another call and they knew they were leaving, finally, and was told to come again. I borrowed more money and went again. This time he was confined to the base and a small town outside of the base.

In order to pay back my MIL for the tickets I went back to work for the pediatric dentist in Mobile that I had worked for. We lived in Huntsville, so I packed up and went to live with my MIL in Mobile. The dentist would allow me to come and go as I pleased so it was a great situation. A family friend kept my daughter for $35 a week. I worked Monday- Thursday and paid my MIL back. My Sunday School class in Huntsville took up an offering to us and sent I think it was $400, so I was able to pay it back a little quicker. At night, I sat glued to CNN because back then you did not have e-mail or the ability to call like so many do today. You would write a letter daily and it may take two weeks between getting anything then you would get 14 in one day, or they would come out of order and you wouldn't know what he was talking about because it referenced another letter.

He was in an artillery unit so was sitting in the middle of the desert living out of their Howitzer. It was cold when the first arrived then turned to scorching heat. They were literally living in the sand with the impossibility of getting the sand off of you. Imagine living on the beach for months- with no toilet or shower. They had a hole with a box for the toilet and did rig up a drum shower. Nothing like getting wet so the sand will blow on you and stick better. He went three weeks without a shower. I didn't know where he was the whole time. The only clue is the one phone call we got in the middle of the night where he asked me if I remember where we had an apartment. He said that the distance from the apartment to our house and let me know that that was about how far he was from Iraq. He was in Saudi Arabia and they worked themselves into Kuwait City. He saw the line of cars that was on the news of the Kuwaiti highway that had been bombed and it was just a long highway of cars abandoned going down the road.

I still tear up to think of the sacrifice each man and woman has made for our country and other countries that we have supported. You may not agree with each effort but should know that you dishonor each person's sacrifice to voice opposition to the effort. Each service member is sacrificing and their family is sacrificing to protect us and keep our country on top of the power of nations. We need to remain strong and unified and stand firmly behind and beside them. I am so proud to be an American.


Christy said...

What an awesome story you and Darryl have. I'm EXTREMELY grateful to all who fight for our freedom.

Marva said...

!hank you for sharing.........and thank you Darryl and ALL american military. May god bless you all and thank you for our freedom!


Tracye said...

You had me in tears, here.

Beautiful story.

beth at aunties said...

I loved your Verterans Day post! Thank you for sharing your story and I am so grateful for our veterans and all the sacrifices they have made for each of us to enjoy the freedoms we do.
Thanks and God Bless your family!

lisa said...

Thank you for sharing! I agree with your last paragraph so much. And thank you so much for you and your husbands service!