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I feel least patriotic on military honor days.
I’m go grateful, so happy, so glad, so everything… but so is everyone else.
And it’s easy to wave a flag and say I support the troops when everyone is doing it.
I have to take photos of a few parades on Monday for my job. Maybe that will get me more in the spirit of things.
I did cry this morning (sobbing past other drivers), when one of my favorite radio shows dedicated a whole hour to have people call in about those veterans that have died.
I heard about a 20-year-old only child who died overseas in an IED explosion. How can that not make you bawl your eyes out for the mother?
When I worked at Old Navy (where I no longer shop because of their corporate stance on life and family issues), we always made a big push to sell our flag tees. You know the ones I mean, with the year and the flag and Old Navy written on it.
Anyway, I never bought one, but we got them free one year, and I wore it. Then I used it to dry my hair. And I’m pretty sure it went to Goodwill eventually.
Here’s some notes on the flag code if you’re wondering.
It should not be used for advertising purposes, but there isn’t anything about printing it on a tee shirt.
I used to think that was the case. However, the juxtaposition with the logo is suspicious.
But everything in Old Navy says Old Navy. You can’t get away from it.
I’m not super “out-there” with the companies that I boycott… and I don’t boycott all the ones that I think I should.
Life and family issues are most important to me, so I can’t handle the Gap Corporation’s philosophy (Gap owns Old Navy and Banana Republic).
For example, Nike. They don’t have the best track record on a lot of issues.
But I like their shoes, and I like their running shorts.
But I don’t buy other things from them that I could.
And I still wear those brands if I can find them at Goodwill (or other such second hand places). I haven’t been able to find a better fitting pair of jeans that Gap jeans.
I just find them at Goodwill now instead of at the mall.
I worked at Goodwill after I was laid off… for about three weeks.
I just realized how drastically the prices are cut. And Goodwill makes enough money to pay people $8 an hour! 75 cents more than minimum wage at least then.
Of course, they get stuff for free, so that’s easier that at a regular store.
But after working there I couldn’t handle paying such high prices for clothes.
Now I pretty much exclusively shop the clearance ranks when I go to a regular store (Target, Kohl’s), and I haven’t bought a first-hand pair of jeans in years. Honestly.
I have every intention of searching thrift stores when I get engaged for a wedding gown.
It’ll be much cheaper to have something tailored to fit me than buying off the rack.
I don’t know how this post derailed, but I like the way it turned out.
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Last Friday, I was shooting an M16. Or a 9 mil. Or a 50 cal. Or a 240B. I forget which I did Friday and which I did Saturday.
It was my last field exercises while in the U.S. Army, and I enjoyed it. Most of it.
Those are the parts of the Army that I’m going to miss, though. Hanging out with my battle buddies and complaining, watching targets fall, handling large weapons. It was exhilarating.
The first time I shot anything (anything) was my 21st birthday.
I was at basic training, on the rifle range for the first time.
We had live rounds. It was terrifying.
That first time was not exhilarating. I cried.
I am not afraid to admit that I cried. I am not afraid to say that I was afraid.
I shot really well though. Ridiculously well.
I shoot well last week, too.
7 of 9 center mass without changing my windage knobs.
I was one of five of my company that shot the 50 cal. The M2 is a beast.
But it’s a mounted weapon, so you don’t feel the push back. This is crazy to shoot.
Rifles are magazine fed, but the M2 and the 240B are belt fed.
You just watch the rounds go flying through the chamber. Awesome.
I’ve never gone hunting, though I thought I wanted to for a while.
I don’t fish (I used to when I was a kid).
I don’t try to kill bugs if I see them inside… I release them.
And I’ve never shot anyone.
But I still love shooting targets.
Especially pop up targets. How great to see them fall down.
I may buy a small hand gun some day. Practice at local ranges.
Or maybe I’ll just remember being great at shooting a military rifle and leave it at that.
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I have 96 days left in the Army Reserve.
Yes, that’s right. I’m almost done. I’ve been counting since it was 365 days.
It’s kind of a big deal.
I remember when I left for basic training.
I wasn’t afraid of the running, the shooting, the danger.
I was worried about the unknown. Would I find some friends? Someone to talk to? Would I be able to do what they expected me to? Would I be able to do it without crying?
I didn’t know what I was getting into. I admit that, now. I wasn’t really prepared.
I don’t think you can be prepared for something like that.
Life isn’t about preparing for every possible outcome or experience. It’s about going through with strength even when something surprises you.
For example, the first time I shot a gun, any kind of gun, was my 21st birthday. No one knew, except my battle buddy, that it was my birthday. No one knew and so someone that didn’t like me, she threatened me. I still remember what she said.
“I’ll cut you.”
What a crazy, ridiculous thing to say to someone, regardless of the situation. “I’ll cut you.”
She was one of those crazy-brave women. You know the kind I mean. She had this rough, abrasive exterior, but I think it stemmed from something that hurt her.
I was crying the first time I shoot my rifle.
I was crying when my drill sergeant came back from the target and said, “You’re a pretty good shot. You did really well.”
Then, I wasn’t crying anymore.
How can you possibly prepare for something like that?
There just isn’t a way to know that on the day you turn 21 you’ll be threatened by a crazy woman (I mean crazy here in the sense that she didn’t realize how much she could hurt someone) and then called a good shot the first time you put a real round through the chamber of an M16.
So, how do we live? How do we go through life, knowing that we aren’t going to know?
I recently got Angels Explained, a talk by Mark Miravalle. It’s amazing.
He strongly suggested we talk to our guardian angels. Did you know that your guardian angel was created with all the other angels at the beginning of time and he/she has been waiting for you?
Our guardian angels love us. And the more we talk to them, ask for their help, the more they can help, Miravalle said.
So I am trying to start praying that simple like “Angel of God” prayer. It’s beautiful and quick, and Miravalle said it works.
In between the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, the wiping, scooping, writing, reading, watching… you know. In between those things, I try to talk to my guardian angel.
It’s weird. I’ll admit that. It’s crazy (in another sense of the word).
I ask him/her to pray for me. I ask him/her to intercede for me. All the ways that I plead with the Blessed Virgin, I do that with my guardian angel.
And I ask for his advice (again, like Mary). I ask for patience. I ask for him to pray for me when I can’t pray, when I don’t know how to pray, when I don’t know what to ask for.
And it works.