Tonight I find myself in dorm style building; hunkered down in a small, but quant perfectly square bedroom. In one corner of the room, I find myself laying like a mummy on what clearly feels like a heavily used twin bed. The only other company for the bed, is a wooden desk, a closet (made of the same wood as the desk) and a hovering sink, all snugly placed into there proper corners. No. I did not lose my apartment. However, I did trade it in this weekend for a new experience. About a month ago, my school offered a workshop titled “Veteran’s Voices.” Just the title alone grabbed my attention. I continued to read what this workshop offered and signed up immediately.
As a child growing up in a military family, soldiers are heroes. No one ever told me that; my parents never sat me down and had a long conversation about the military. I saw it. I experienced it. When I was in elementary school, my dad was absent one weekend every month for drill. When he walked through the door in his uniform on Sunday night we celebrated by reading bedtime stories on his lap. My freshman year of college, my older brother would call me at 2 o’clock in the morning from Afghanistan because that’s was the only free time he had.
I never questioned that my brother, father, cousins and grandfather are heroes for serving in the armed forces. Never.
This weekend at Camp Ripley, I have a privilege to look deeper and gain a greater perspective into understanding what’s beyond the uniform. I am a civilian living in a military world. Learn about it and be open.