I have never thought of myself as veteran even though I served in the United States Coast Guard Reserves for 11 years (DH was in for 8). I served during a relatively conflict free time. I was attracted to the Coast Guard because it has a very important peacetime mission which includes search and rescue as well as maritime law enforcement. It would seem that after 11 years I would have stayed until I reach the 20 year mark. But I made a conscious decision to leave the USCG. It was during the first Gulf War, Desert Storm. At the time a lot of Coasties were being called up to go to the Gulf. I took a hard look at my values and realized I was very much against any war. We didn't get called up but decided we needed to leave the service as a matter of personal conscience.
Like so many young people I joined the service for economic reasons. I had wanted to got to college to become a Marine Biologist but that wasn't in the cards for me at the time. I had intended to be in the active service. I thought my experience in the USCG would be valuable and the GI Bill might pay for college someday. I flipped a coin with another gal in the recruiters office, I got the reserve billet, she got the active duty one. After 10 weeks of boot camp and 6 month of active duty my life took another path. Ah youth....
What I really want to talk about on this day of remembrance is just that, remembering. Although, I am very much anti-war I have nothing but respect and humility towards our all military folks. So many young people, like my self, choose the military path as a way out of poverty and to gain independence. It does grieve me that so many have lost their lives or have been damaged in body and soul. I want us to rememeber with all our strength why we honor this day, not celebrate. It is because of War. We send our young and shining future to defend, in my opionion, political ideals. My greatest hope is that we, as a speices find a way to resolve our differences peacefully.
I had a lot of good times in the USCG. I had a few struggles and a couple close calls. I learned a lot about my self. I learned the value of service. I still serve my country & my planet with work towards peace and a healthy environment. On this day I bow my head in humility and pray that we will give peace a chance. Let us all be called to some sort of peaceful services to all life upon this planet.
~~~ with Love & Light