Thursday, March 01, 2007
This uniform...inspires pride in my heart.
It is worn by the one person who is, in all the world, dearest to me. He serves proudly, bravely and tirelessly "Pro Deo et Patria," for God and Country. The most complex mixture of emotions pass over me when I look at him dressed in this.
This uniform...has rich meaning.
Every pin, ribbon, and symbol on it has it's proper place. Each tells a story of his unit, awards, or role as a Chaplain. Each is full of history and tradition.
This uniform...should not cause fear. But it does.
Early last week, Kevin was updating his uniform with the pins earned during the deployment. I asked if he was getting ready for a ceremony or to conduct a wedding, and he was quiet a long time. If only it were simply a ceremony or wedding. No, he was getting his uniform ready because he was assigned notification duty that week. In the event of a fallen soldier having family anywhere in our area, Kevin had to be part of the notification team that brings the news of the soldier's death to those who are dreading that very visit.
For a year, I had lived in fear of a green uniform showing up at my door. Now Kevin had to prepare his for the task. I mentioned the dread I had felt, and he only said, "I was just thinking about the same thing. No American should have to fear this uniform."
After his duty was over, he mentioned that he would rather deploy again than have to repeat notification duty. I believe it took all his courage to serve like this, in some ways even more than the difficulties in Iraq. He had to be composed, calm, and comforting in someone else's darkest hour, to stand by them while their worst fears became reality. And shedding tears of sympathy, I feel sad, and lucky, and thankful, and proud.
The most complex mix of emotions washes over me whenever I look at this uniform.