Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May the Fourth Be With Me: Today I Am a Civilian

Today at a minute after midnight I became a civilian.  I do not have enough years to retire, so I my enlistment expired and my Army career ended.

Cinderella, One Minute After Midnight

Like Cinderella at one minute after midnight, the party is over and I am just another former soldier with uniforms in my closet and memories.

In the sticky way that social media softens the line between life events, my Facebook page is full of birthday greetings from soldiers, along with family and friends who wished me well in serving in the Army.  So I had one last Happy Army Birthday courtesy of Facebook.

From now on, I will be posting as a civilian, a former soldier who served during the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Afghanistan War and in the Iraq War.

Sadly, the only war we won that I served in was the Cold War.  The others, we lost.  But like so many successful armies, the reason we lost the wars since World War II is partly because of winning that war.

Winning makes people and countries think they are in control.  In the wake of World War II, we made compromises and mistakes that led to the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and to the terrorism we live with now.

I enlisted during the Vietnam War knowing how terribly unpopular the war was, but I was enlisting to get a better job, not for any great purpose.  And I had a vague idea that the military would help me to grow up.

When I re-enlisted in 2007, I had a vague idea about serving my country, but it was also an adventure.
And now the coach is just a pumpkin again.  So I will have to find the next adventure.