I am not a Soldier. I never have been. I have always wanted to be. Many of my friends are Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and some have even gone Air Force. I was prevented from fighting for this country due to Ritalin, something I was too young to protest at the age of seven, when it was prescribed to me. When I enlisted to the Corps I was happy. I knew where my life was going. Then they "discovered" I took Ritalin. I say "discovered" because I never hid it, and they never asked, but on a final look through they found it and at the time it was an automatic disqualifier. They black balled me. I left the recruiters office in anger, I went to the Army recruiter, he told me no, Air Force, same thing, the goddamned coast guard wouldn't take me. I wanted to serve my country and they wouldn't let me. I was hurt, I was angry, I was devastated. I had spent the better part of the previous 6 years gearing my life towards being a career military man. A Marine.
Well, I’m coming up on my 27th birthday. I’m 6'3" 350lbs and have accomplished nothing. I need to lose 100 lbs and find some direction. I have been wallowing in this self pity and doubt for far too long. I don't know if I’m more afraid of success or of having my dreams stripped away again, so instead I don't dream. I’m not sure which is worse, not trying to succeed, or not having dreams to reach. All I know is that I have wasted too much time living in the past. Too much time thinking about how much more direction my life would be if I were a Marine. I’d have direction. I’d have a purpose.
Personally, I deal well with death. It’s inevitable. I don't mourn death as it happens to us all. We’re not getting out of here alive. I actually celebrate death. Most everyone I know has lived a good life. Been mostly happy. Done things they've never thought they could do. So why would you mourn that? You should celebrate it. Cherish it. Relish it.
I am not a crier. I couldn't tell you the last time I cried. Not because I’m macho, but mostly because I’m dead inside. However there are two things that give me chills, and choke me up. The first and foremost is the national anthem. It could be sung horribly, or played out of tune on a Casio synthesizer, it doesn't matter. The meaning is still there. I cannot talk after hearing it, without a moment to clear my throat and relax. My old color guard commander knew this. In JROTC he would wait an extra second after "order colors", to call "order arms". He also knew that as I was the guard of the American flag, and therefore in the lead, I was pretty much walking blind for the first few seconds till my eyes dried up. This is an involuntary response. I have no control. I am not a Soldier. I am not a Marine.
The second thing that gets me is anyone who wears a uniform of the armed forces being buried. Military funerals are the all about respect. And that's what gets me. It’s not the death of this person who has so outwardly devoted their life so I can get fat and drunk; it's the respect we owe to that person. The respect they only seem to get in death. Respect they earned. In blood. In hardship.
I am not a Soldier. I am not a Marine, and I am not a sailor. I wish I were standing beside those who are, as one of them, paying my debt to this country the only way I can think to. Unfortunately at the tender age of 26 I have been rendered medically unable to serve. They wouldn't even take me in a draft. So to those of you brave enough to serve, those of you strong enough to fight, I thank you. From the deepest recesses, thank you. Your work means more than anything else I can think of. Thank you.