Being part of a military family is an honor.
|I was born into a military family at Fort Bliss in El Paso, TX. At the time my father was a technician who worked on the planes and would eventually get out after four years and work at Boeing Aircraft. This is the story of four very special people in my life growing up. My dad's brothers, Uncle Jaycee and Uncle Leroy they were pilots in the AF, my cousin Deanie Kay he was Army on my mom's side and of course my baby big brother Ricky he was National Guard. Remembering back on the loss of my loved ones and the impact they had on my life. It is very sad the loss that families have endured through the years. Mine is no different than any other military family in the world.
My uncle's flew B-52's in Vietnam and saw alot of ariel combat. I remember looking at all the ribbons that both of them had and sent to my grandma. Their Purple hearts especially. I don't remember much about them growing up. They didn't live close to us and we didn't get to see them but once or twice a year. I did talk to my dad about them recently and he said they had both passed years ago. Uncle Leroy of agent orange and he couldn't remember what Uncle Jaycee died of. It's sad that I really didn't get to know them any better.
I so cherished my oldest cousin, Deanie Kay. He was 20 when he was drafted to Vietnam, and I was 7 years old. I remember the day he shipped out, the whole family went to Galveston, TX to the beach, and we all played in the water. I couldn't swim and still can't to this day. He walked me out into the water. He gave me the encouragement I needed. Well, that is until seaweed wrapped around my feet, and I was wrapped around his neck for dear life within seconds. He finally convinced me to let go laughing at me the whole time. His wife was trying to help pry me loose from the grip I had on him. He let me get up on his shoulders to walk back in after playing for a few minutes and splashing around with them. He left an hour later after lots of hugs and kisses from the family. I watched him walking away from me, praying for his safe return to me. His wife was pregnant with their daughter and he missed alot of years of her growing up.
We saw each other a few times after he returned. He had a hard time dealing with adjusting for years and we didn't get to see him often enough. I only saw him three times after he returned. The first being the day after he returned I was about ten years old and the second time I was about twelve and the last time I would see him I was 15 on vacation with one of my other aunt's who took us to Texas to see family and to my surprise he was there visiting his mom and dad. I remember asking him to tell me about Vietnam as we drove around in his convertible and he told me that it was nothing he ever wanted to talk about again or re-live.
It changed him so much, it made him bitter towards the world. I never understood until years later through documentaries and movies. The things he witnessed was beyond comprehension let alone to understand that people would do the horrific things to other human beings. I never saw him after that and I miss him dearly and often think of him. He suffered PTSD until he passed away from cancer in 2013.
Last but not least my baby big brother Ricky, who served in Desert Storm and suffered from PTSD as well. He served in the Army National Guard. He passed away 7 years ago, and he would've been 60 this year. We lost our mom at an early age, and it was hard for Ricky to recover from it as well. He is buried with our mother, so he isn't alone. I was going through a box of his that he gave me of old documents, photos, medals, and souvenirs that he wanted me to pass on to his children if he didn't make it back from yet another deployment. I have carried that box around since 1991 when he showed up on my doorstep after years of separation. I would not see him again until 2012. Hopefully, I will be able to give the box to his oldest daughter this year and she can divide it between herself and her sister and brother. It was fun going through it, and looking at what I missed in his life. Wondering what happened to the time and the decisions that we make in our lives that can effect so many people who are in it. We missed alot of each other's life's.
Through out the years my family along with many others sacrifice time with their families to protect us so we may live free the life style that our forefathers fought for, all those years ago. I do mean sacrifice alot, time that is taken away from their children growing up, spouse's, mother's, father's, etc. Death of family members and births of children. My youngest son told me once that he did it to protect those he loved the most. As far as he was concerned it wasn't a sacrifice to protect them, it was an honor. The biggest thing is they are willing to do it to keep terrorist off of these shorelines of ours.
With my memories of these four extraordinary people in my life, I write this and dedicate it in memory to them and those of others we have lost through the years. May you all RIP forevermore!