Three years ago my daughter Tasha joined the National Guard and for a short period of time we both drilled in the same unit. I really didn't have a problem with it. I was proud of Tasha and enjoyed drilling with her. She married and moved on.
Today at drill I ran into someone I recognized. She is the younger sister of a girl that Jason and Tasha are friends with. I called her name and she turned and looked questionably at me. I'm sure she was wondering how I knew her name. I told her I was Jason and Tasha's mom. I had to laugh, her jaw about hit the ground. I wonder what she thought about drilling with the old lady!
It is interesting to look around at all the different service members serving in the National Guard. Naturally, many of them are young. However, there are also many who are older. When I take to time to actually look I was surprised to realize that I am not the only old, low ranking soldier out there.
Today I took some time to seek out and talk with some of them. Many of them are like me, returning to the service after a long break. Most of them came back after September 11th. Some rejoined because of employment issues. Others came in to serve directly because of September 11th. A few even came in so they could buy insurance for their family. The National Guard now allows National Guard members to buy into the Tricare program. Whatever the reason, they all put their uniforms back on.
Yesterday I was questioning if I still had any value to the Guard. Today I think that perhaps I do. Maybe it is not in carrying a weapon or storming anything. Maybe it is just in imparting some knowledge/sharing experiences. Today I talked to several young soldiers about training opportunities, schooling opportunities, how to use all the services available. I helped one soldier who needed insurance, she didn't even realize that it was available. So many kids had questions and when they found someone to listen they were very open to sharing.
I think that sometimes we don't realize the impact we have on someone else just by being where we are at the time. It is possible that by listening and sharing we are changing a life positively in ways we don't know.
I like to think so.