Saturday, October 08, 2011

10 and 20 (years of war and service)

Was privileged to run in a 10k race on September 11th at the North Carolina National Guard Joint Force HQ, and will be running in the Army 10-Miler in Wash DC this Sunday. I'm not in great shape, but glad I can participate in these activities.

Got a couple of reminders today of my brothers and sisters in arms who continue to push on as the services continue to answer the call of our country's leaders.

We're not supposed to call it 'the long war'... but it has now been 10 years.

From a CNN posting:

...In the North Country, as the locals call this part of New York, Afghanistan is as much in people's hearts as it was a decade ago, when the horrific events of September 11 pushed America to war.

Elsewhere, Afghanistan slid down many rungs in the ladder of public interest. Americans are paying far less attention to war now than at earlier stages of the fighting, according to a Pew Research Center study published Wednesday. But not here.

War makes unwanted, life-arresting visits; crashes into homes and entire neighborhoods just as assuredly as a January blizzard....

Afghanistan is now the longest-running war America has fought with an all-volunteer military. But only about one half of 1% of the population has served in uniform, and military and civilian worlds rarely collide anymore....

"I fear they do not know us," Adm. Mike Mullen, the newly retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. "I fear they do not comprehend the full weight of the burden we carry or the price we pay when we return from battle."

And a post from which I've lifted the image above.

I'm proud to feel that, while what I've done pales in comparison to what so many others have done, I have done my part. 10 years ago when the US was changed by the violence of September 11th, I knew that unless I resigned my commission, I would be involved in one way or another. I'm even more proud of those who have come before me, those to my right and left, and those who continue to step forward. I admire them and marvel at their dedication and stamina.

I hit 20 years of service in Guard and Reserve next week. My body is tired and worn, and some joints have been replaced and others won't ever work the same, but I'm still here, and will keep plugging along with Uncle Sam for a bit longer. When serving an LDS church mission, we often heard the phrase "you love the ones you serve" and the same definitely applies to my service to my country and my teammates in the process.

I keep in touch with my military side through my continued work with the NC Army National Guard and more recently with a group of military veterans internal to Lowe's. Thanks to the focus and energy of a recently commissioned Navy Reserve officer (in Army we call them green to golds), we've been exploring ways to help servicemembers and veterans within the company, helping them understand policies and benefits that are relevant to them at Lowe's, etc.

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