Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Veterans' Day, 2009
Taciturn is a retired USAF officer. Most of the military activities we engage in, if we do engage with the military locally, are due to his status.
It is enough to almost make me forget that I once was a military officer myself.
I had great experiences and horrible experiences during my ten years of active duty and four years in the reserves. The military's main influence on me was to make me less parochial, to see that there was a great big world outside of the area in which I lived. I became more tolerant, more accepting. The military made me realize that cultures other than my own were no less valid.
My experiences in the military helped shape me into the woman I am today.
Above is a little Episcogranny nostalgia. This photo was taken September 15, 1988, when I was "frocked" to the rank of Navy lieutenant (frocking meant you wore your upcoming rank insignia, but got the pay of your present rank). The officer to the right was CAPT Susan McCumber, who was the chief nurse where I was stationed at the time. The other officer was the hospital commander; her name I do not recall. Hard to believe that was so long ago.
Do not be confused by the fact I am married to an Air Force man. I served in the active duty Navy for 4 years, then went to the reserves. I was recalled to active duty during the first Gulf War. I cooled my heels at Naval Hospital Charleston for a few months, then went back home. But I realized I missed the active duty military, and looked into returning to active duty in the Navy. For several reasons, I discovered that really was not the best option for me--but the Air Force looked really good. So back into the military I went, this time wearing Air Force blue. I met Taciturn at Scott AFB, IL in 1997, and we married the next year. I left active duty six weeks after we were married. We decided after visiting with many people and talking with each other about what we wanted, that for me to leave the service was the best option. My career was never going to be great due to my break in service, but his was just starting to take off. That did turn out to be the best decision for our family.
So on Veterans' Day I stand a bit taller and remember that I did indeed serve my nation.