Saturday, January 9, 2016

Who Are My People?

When I was in Iraq, I started writing under the general title “Who Fights Our Wars?” when I wrote about the soldiers I served with.

At the end of June last year, I retired as a civilian.  In May of this year or next year I will leave the Army.  When I leave the Army, there will no longer be anyone in my life I am paid to hang around with.  Everyone in my life will be a friend, a family member, or someone I chose to associate with.

Which has led me to think about “Who are my people?”  So in the same way I have been writing about soldiers I served with, I will write about people with whom I share some activity, which means we share time and space together.  Some of these people are or were soldiers.  Some are not. 

I decided to write about these people because one of the reasons I had for going back in the Army at 54 years old was how much I missed the deep connection I had with some of the people I served with on active duty in the 1970s.

It turned out this ability to connect with people had to do with the circumstances we were in.  The regular Army puts people close together for weeks and months on end.  The National Guard brings people together for just one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.  When we trained for and deployed to Iraq and really were jammed together, it should be no surprise to anyone that a 55-year-old guy does not quite blend into a group of 20 year olds.  Socially, I blended in like a Vegan at a Bull Roast.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about who my people are, what they do, what we do together. 

In his book “The Four Loves” C.S. Lewis writes about Friendship.  The key moment in finding a friend he says can be the moment of “You too?’  That moment in which we find someone else interested in something we thought no one else loved the way we do. 

So in addition to writing about the people who fight our current wars, or were ready to fight the Soviet Union, I am also going to write about people with whom I share one particular interest, even if the rest of our lives are very different.

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