Monday, May 28, 2012

What they miss.

"You miss so much. It's more than putting your life on the line. It's agreeing to miss out on the living while it's happening."

Those were the words my husband spoke to me one year when I asked if he ever regretted leaving the Army.

Here's why:

The BHE was on the career-military trajectory. He shocked a lot of people when he opted for an honorable discharge after ten hard years. Without even staying in the reserves. That was a stunner with all that he'd done.

And he'd done a lot. An officer. Ranger-qualified. Airborne-qualified. Time in the Old Guard. And even a Jump Master. Admittedly, I didn't know what any of that meant before meeting Harry. I even thought him being a "ranger" meant that he was the park kind. As in the chase Yogi and Boo Boo kind. So yeah, I didn't know WHAT all that stuff meant. And in case you don't either, just know this: It's kind of a big deal-- and it involves a WHOLE lot of time and sacrifice.

So yeah. It was surprising when he decided to become a permanent civilian.

"When soldiers return or get out, it's a shame how they're treated. Why are so many veterans homeless? Or unemployed? It's awful."

And those were also Harry's words.

So today I am reflecting on those service men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country. But I am also remembering those who are alive, yes, but somewhere missing out on life as it is happening.

And that's a lot of people. A lot of people we know and love.

Today I imagined what Harry would have missed if he'd stayed in the military. As an infantryman with that kind of combat training, surely he would have been deployed repeatedly--just like many of his closest friends.

So the selfish part of me is relieved. Relieved that I get the perks of all he learned from being an officer but not worrying now that he is simply a gentleman. And I know--that's so selfish to think. But thanks to the unselfish perspective of my husband, I am fully aware that a strong military presence is necessary. But it happens at great sacrifice.

To someone. Even if it's not me.

So thank you. To those who put their lives on the line--and their living on the line--thank you. And to the families who stand by you and sacrifice so much right along with you--thank you just as much.

Happy Memorial Day.



  1. I sure am glad that your man is there to celebrate a long weekend with you and your gorgeous sons.

  2. Powerful, powerful. Thanks for posting.

  3. I always think on how the only real sector , from a career standpoint, that has medicine beat by a landslide in terms of personal sacrifice is the military. Whatever one's personal politics, we should all be thankful .

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

  4. Yes thank you to the families. I grew up in a Navy family and my dad was away for probably 9 of the first 16 years of my life. I went to 6 elementary schools and 2 high schools and my dear mother also sacrificed. Remember, "they also serve who only stand and wait." And he served in peacetime for the most part. I can only imagine what it it is like to have your family member at war. Happy Memorial Day.

  5. So well said Dr Manning and such beautiful pictures of you and your family. I am glad for you that your BHE is just where he is supposed to be.

  6. Amen. I'm with Harry on the stuff about veteran's. It breaks my heart all the time.


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