Memorial day is always a conflicting time for me now.
I was fortunate, very fortunate, in my deployment that we didn't have anyone killed. A few got injured, but nobody died.
Then in the eight years since we've been back a half dozen guys I served with took their own lives.
And I know that Memorial day is supposed to be about honoring those who died in war, and also recognize that not every veteran who takes their own life does so bc of factors directly related to service.
Veterans can take their own life for the same reasons civilians do.
But it's still a difficult thing to reckon with. And it's hard to separate whatever factors went into their final decision with what they went through - what we all went through - and wonder what is it that makes you carry on and not end up like them.
"Dearest mother, I have arrived at the border. Solitude and dirt surround us. The men are in high spirits. We have been told our deployment will be short. I dug a trench today. I saw a lizard. Will write again soon."
It's been over a week. We haven't seen a single migrant. We set up C-wire. I dug a second trench behind the first trench in case we get overrun. It's lonely here. My battle buddy keeping singing 'All my exes live in Texas' over and over. I miss home."
I think it's been two weeks. It's hard to tell. Time has no meaning here on the border. I've dug three more trenches. I've started pooping in the first one bc I forgot where the porta John is. I killed a gopher. My first kill. Felt good. Send smokes."
Ever notice how nobody ever says women aren't smart enough to be in the infantry?
Men can slide by with an IQ somewhat on par with a chimpanzee.
Imagine how much better the military would be if it raised its intelligence standard instead of obsessing over just the physical.
"But Jay," you scream as your medium Grunt Style t-shirt that should be an XL slowly traps the blood above your neck, "what happens when you need someone to hump a tank up a mountain. What then smart guy?"
*Anonymous guy with eight numbers and red X's in his handle appears off from the side like Grima Wormtongue*