See the World, Don’t See An Ocean

To go the distance is a wonderful thing!
Remember all the moments that had you smiling…
Away we shall drive, across the continent
Vows to make it the the next graduent.
Even though it’s the middle of the week
Live while you can and don’t be too sleek.
Sometimes it’s cheaper just to drive rather than fly.
To California now! The other way,
How long are we going to stay?
Even though we’ll be together  all the way.
Everyone will help when only one moves away.
Wow! You’ve scattered all over the place!
One to the West and one to the East states.
Recall that you’ve sent another to the South.
Let me know what it’s like going that route.
Don’t forget that wherever you go, you’re always home.
Home is where the heart is.

Written for Suzie’s Weekly Word Challenge this week: http://suzie81speaks.com/2014/05/26/weekly-word-challenge-travel/

When I was 12 years old, my family decided to drive across the Continental U.S. to see my second eldest sister graduate from boot camp. It was the middle of exams and we only had a little money. We went anyway and made up all the exams the week after.

Five or six years ago, another of my sisters was moving to California. So the majority of my family got time off, packed her up and we headed out. Nevada is a beautiful place, but once you get through the mountains and into California near Sacramento… There are practically no mountains. I spent the entire time completely lost. I grew up surrounded by mountains, without them I have absolutely no idea where I am. Having a compass didn’t help at all. (I have slight panic attacks when I have no mountains for an extended period of time.)

I’ve been to both the East Coast and the West Coast and yet have never seen an ocean.

I’ve had a panic attack and had to spend all day under a blanket while driving through Arkansas.

Many of my family have been all over. At one point I had a sister in Germany (stationed there), a sister in Hawaii (college student), another down in the bottom corner of Utah in the middle of the National Parks there (college, again) and my elder brother over in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (mission). They were all gone at the same time and the household was the smallest I’ve ever seen in my family (there were only five of us at home: one mom and four pre-teens/teens.)

My parents did all their traveling before they had us passel of kids (Dad was in the Air Force when they first met and he was stationed in various places) so I know about places, but other than reading, I haven’t actually been to very many of them.

Well, my imagination has always been up to snuff enough for me  and I do so love to look things up and then picture them in my mind. Maybe someday I’ll actually see an ocean in something other than through a lens, but until then, I’ll listen to the stories my family can tell and enjoy every moment of my travels through my mind.

Their Lives For Mine

My family has a long history of people in the armed forces. My sister, my uncles, my cousins, my father, my grandfathers, my great-grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather once crossed a river twice in one night into and out of enemy territory by himself in order to rescue his unit. He was the youngest officer and one of the younger soldiers in that unit. They got everyone out.

My father flew in Vietnam and provided air support. He still doesn’t like to talk about it.

My mother’s brother is a former marine and at least two of my father’s brothers have served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

My sister was stationed in Germany with her husband and two children. After she left the army and had her third child, she was in the National Guard and went to drill every first weekend of the month. Her children were still learning how to walk unaided.

I read the news as often as I can and I know that many have suffered greatly not only in recent wars and attacks and bombings, but in natural disasters as well. Armed forces are sent to aid people caught up in this as well. They don’t just fight for us to be free, they rescue those that are in need of help against the forces of our very planet.

These people are not faceless and they continue to change our lives with everything they have.

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Written a little over a week late for FreeWriteFriday.

http://kellieelmore.com/2013/11/01/fwf-free-write-friday-life-changers-with-guest-host-kelley-rose/

Where Were You Today?

Where were you when the Trade Towers fell? What was going through your mind?

I was walking into my 8th grade U.S. History class when it happened. My teacher usually had the news on for the first ten or so minutes of class, especially as it was the first period of the day. I looked up at the screen as the second plane hit the other tower. School didn’t close for us, but it didn’t really happen that day either. Every class had the news on during every period of the day and we were called to an assembly twice during the day in order for our principal to speak to us. Several students had to go to the counselor’s offices in order to calm down after growing hysterical in the halls.

When I finally learned what was going on, the only thought that crossed my mind was the fact that my older sister and her husband were supposed to fly out the next day to Georgia before taking up their positions at one of our Army bases in Germany. They had their one year old daughter with them. Their flight was postponed so often after that, that they eventually had to rent a car in order to drive over so they wouldn’t be late getting to their posts.

I spent the next year in dread that they would be shipped to the Middle East and that their daughter and then their infant son would be flown back to us to raise while their parents fought for freedom.

I’ve rarely ever been so terrified of anything in my life. It still makes me cry to think about it even now, over ten years later.

We live in a different world today than we did when I was small. That both terrifies me and fills me with hope. Hope that we can someday find an end to fear, but also that we never forget the lessons that fear has taught us.