The Infantry Museums Legacy...
The oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Infantry was established on June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress ordered the formation of ten companies of riflemen. The riflemen comprised the first armed force of a new nation… a nation destined to become the greatest democracy the world has ever known.
Since that time the Infantry has gone where other forces could not go and accomplished missions others could not attempt. The story of the "Queen of Battle" has been written by individual Infantrymen who have done their duty with pride, courage and honor. Their suffering and sacrifices won our freedom, preserved that freedom for over two centuries, and will guarantee it in the future. Some were called heroes, some were not…but they were all members of a band of brothers who fought for their country and the cause of freedom.
We believe our children must learn that there are values and beliefs worth living for and worth dying for; that the freedom and liberty we enjoy today has come at a high price; and that the American values of patriotism, duty, courage and leadership are the hallmarks of the Infantry and must be preserved.
The Foundation believes this legacy belongs to the American people and that every citizen should have the opportunity to see and learn about what Infantrymen have done, are doing now and will do in the future.
I am finding it hard to find the words to describe my feelings at THIS DAY. I tried to write just the facts in the post, because the incident was smattered with so many different feelings, I got lost writing about the actual incident, or whatever you want to call it.
I do not compartmentalize well. Which is part of the reason I blog, it provides me the haven I need to write things out. And sometimes it is hard to convey those things, and sometimes the words get lost between my brain and my fingers. Something gets lost in translation.
You see The Collective are 3 and 5. They are just figuring things out, they are just learning what their Daddy does. To them, he is just daddy, he wears a uniform that is brown and green. In their short lives they have witnessed 3 different camouflage being worn . But they are getting to the age, where it is easier to explain some things. They know what a bully is, and they know they are not good, and they know about "bad guys". I am trying to teach them what I think they should know, in small and chewable pieces.
So the Infantry Museum, was one of things, we were not sure if they were ready for, and I have a lot of photos that I will post soon. (damn missing chord, which I am ordering in the morning.) in the park across from the museum, as they walked with me, and we looked at them ALL.
They got to go in the museum, and we got to talk about Desert Storm, and how Daddy used to drive a tank, and he used to jump out of airplanes, and how now, he is in the Infantry. The Collective seemed impressed, mostly with the tank. All of the buttons, and Daddy knew what all of the buttons were for.
It was good for Daddy to be able to explain all of this to them.
However, I guess I should go back to the beginning of entering the museum....
We were greeted by a smiling young man, who stood up upon our entrance. But as I watched him out of the corner of my eye through the day, I noted, he was having a hard time. He was sitting between visitors, and when anyone walked in that door, he stood smiling. But I caught him, grimacing, and looking unsettled when he was alone. I concluded that this young man in uniform, is probably on museum duty due to an injury acquired in training, or while deployed....it is hard to tell. But I made the assumption, and I could be wrong. But I noticed.
And it was nice to be on a large military installation on a memorial day weekend. I felt so safe, and proud, and felt like I was in such good company. Until...that man said those words.
The husband says..."Do you know this guy? What is the big deal, there are a lot of dead people to read about in here, we will be here all day."
And my reaction was visceral....
Seriously in my mind it was fight club, I was pissed, with a head full of a plethora of curse words.
And those of you who know me, and have met me know I rarely mince words. Typically my response would have been a lashing one...
And I couldn't do it, because Mr. Rescerola deserved a better representative than a potty mouthed pissed off wife. I also could not do that, because his son was standing at his side, fresh faced probably straight out of jump school, or basic. He was in uniform, and I could see in his face how proud he wanted this man to be of him...
A son serving his country in war time, and a Father...not understanding what that means.
That hurt too, after having many of our own family shirk of military service as something you do, when you can't do anything else.
And I saw that look in this kids eye....and it made my heart hurt.
Heck his words made me hurt. If he thought Rick Rescerolas death was simply a time waste?....What did he think of my Husbands service? And what about the women who have lost the loves of their lives, and the boys will not meet Father's? The Fathers and Mothers that have a folded flag sitting in reminder?
What if these people were at this museum and had to hear this? On this solemn Memorial weekend?
So I mustered up what I could to educate him.
And the fact that I had to have THAT conversation, in that PLACE, on that DAY?
It really took the wind out of my sails. And I assure you, it clouded the other family's weekend.
But I had to weigh all of the pros and cons of what I was going to say and how, and all of these thoughts firing soooo quickly in my head, while I just want to punch him, and walk out....
I am not sure if this post says it either, what I want to say.
Gosh there is a lot of work to do, isn't there? And to those of you that do the ACTUAL fighting, and for those that support them.....it is a monumental task.
And after being surrounded for the last month, at conferences in which pride, and honor is felt to the point you never want that feeling to wane....
It broke my heart, because I was not expecting these words, not there. Not where Audie Murphy's uniform is, not where an American flag crafted by POWs stands for all of us to see.
*You can visit the National Infantry Foundation HERE