Every year I try to post something about Veteran’s Day (on my old blog www.rachellebelievinggod.blogspot.com), and at the risk of appearing dramatic, I feel a sense of duty to still mention this part of our lives every year. I’m not seeking attention; I know few in my current circle who have experienced the military combat deployment side of life, and I feel some sense of obligation to mention ours.
It has been almost 10 years since Scott left for Iraq for 13 months (January 2006), but it does not seem that long ago. Looking at these pictures of their formation on that snowy day they left still gets me sick to my stomach. If it hadn’t been for the young soldier blaring rap music out of his barrack room window when I walked back to the car after my final good-bye I think I would have crumbled into a heap. Somehow that reminder of carefree youth made me smile and helped me hold my head up until I got back into the car in shock that this was finally happening (we had known for a year that he was leaving). My friend drove me home in case I couldn’t make the 1.5 hour drive back to Heidelberg, but it wasn’t until that night when my bed was empty and I had to turn out the lamp myself that the tears fell. I even turned on football on Saturday mornings just to hear that same familiar noise. So many questions and unknowns began, but I was thankful for the beginning of the countdown to his return home. We knew it would be a year’s separation, and I had no idea how we would get through, except for the fact that my neighbor across the hallway had made it through 4 deployments. If she could survive that, and she seemed okay, then I could do this, too.
I say it every year–I am so proud of our young soldiers–their dedication, sacrifice, hard work, and everything they go through. I am so glad I understand this side of life. Scott was an officer, and he was ordered to leave his job of taking care of soldiers’ kids as a pediatrician on post in Heidelberg, to taking care of soldiers and a few civilians in Iraq. The first part was in Tal Afar, which the teams before had done a great job of clearing out the terrorists, building schools, drainage, etc. and they were moved to Ramadi, a hotbed of Saddam Hussein’s loyalists. This was a turning point–the work was grueling. They lost about 3 soldiers a week to IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) or gun fire, and Scott soon became comfortable with inserting traches in adults. If you would like to see more of the work they did, I posted some pics on my old blog of their medical team’s work. They are not for the faint of heart. The instructions to view them are on my other blog here http://rachellebelievinggod.blogspot.com/2013/02/ramadi-iraq-2006-2007.html and the post the day before shows a few pics of Scott in action thanks to photographer Lucian Reed http://rachellebelievinggod.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-13-2007-return-from-ramadi-iraq.html?showComment=1360819841491#c6460011495180490276
I believe this is enough for today–Happy Veteran’s Day to all the generations of those who served. We are so glad you came home, thankful for your service, and we weep with you for the comrades we lost.