This is my "little" brother. He is currently deployed in Afghanistan. He just received a promotion and was made the spotlight for his platoon's Facebook page. They do that occasionally to keep loved ones updated on their soldiers. I could not be more proud of him!! He has truly forged a path for himself far different than any my family would have thought for him but he is making it his own and he is becoming such an amazing man. This post is about him and men and woman like him.
I will never know what it is like to be a soldier. I will never have to know because of people like him who willingly sign up to serve our country. So when, on the day that we have dropped him off to deploy, my mom happens to see a certain bumper sticker on the back of a car in the Cracker Barrel parking lot I may get somewhat offended. I have seen many a bumper sticker with all kinds of differing opinions. I am all for them! We are all different, we all have our opinions and mine may not be the same as yours and I believe that is ok. We are a free country, formed on differences. However, when your bumper sticker reads "If you support the war, feel free to send your children to the front lines." I may feel a little hurt. Especially to have my mother see that, on that day, was heartbreaking. She is a little more forth coming with her opinions than me, but on that day I don't think she even knew what to say. It had already been a morning of many tears. Her youngest child just went to the front lines and someones car is practically begging for him to go.
The army was never something discussed with Patrick. My parents were sure that he was going to end up playing golf, coaching golf, doing something golfish. He is an amazing golfer (and now he is an amazing soldier). They had tried to send my other brother to military school (the straighten your shiz out kind) but he only lasted a day. That was the last the military was really discussed with any form of connection to my brothers.
Patrick decided on his own that he was going to enlist. He had met a former marine and that is where his story began. Politics was never something very openly discussed in our home, we were allowed to form our own opinions. My parents backgrounds differed from each others in many ways and one side was never promoted or slandered.
When any person chooses to enlist, it is for reasons the resonate with them. Just because someones family may believe in the military and all it stands for doesn't mean that their child will automatically decide to enlist and just because they may not believe in it doesn't mean their child won't. At 18 we are all adults, all legally able to decide our own path in life. My brother chose his. I ask that you not diminish that decision. He is my brother, he is my parents son, he is a young man forming a life for himself and we as people should support that. I choose to stand behind him, not only because he chooses to stand in front but because he is my brother and I love him. If I could change your bumper sticker I would like to have it read, "Whether or not you support the war, that person on the front lines is someones son or daughter."
That man up there in the green will always be this kid to me. The boy who was my bud, the "baby" of the family and the one with a huge heart. He is the man who loves his nieces and nephew like nobody's business and the one who is becoming one of the best and strongest men I know. Please do not wish him harm! He is my brother.