Monday, May 06, 2013

"Those who stay at home may live more comfortably and grow richer than those who wander, but I desire neither to live comfortably nor to grow rich."

Recently someone asked me if I felt "secure" serving overseas.  "No," I told him, perplexed.  "But if I wanted to be secure, I wouldn't have volunteered for this career."  No one would suggest a soldier only be deployed if she had absolute security.  Why would it be different for us?

On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being "eating cereal on a Saturday morning at your parents' house in the suburbs" and 10 being "Dear Lord, very sorry for any wrongdoing; please be kind as I'll be with you shortly," I was normally around a 2 or 3 in Pakistan.  There were a few discrete times when I got to maybe an 8.  I remember one of the FSNs asking once that we leave a place.  "You only have the one life," he explained.  "When we're here, we can't be sure something isn't happening to the car."  I remember when a bomb went off and none of us was quite ready.

I don't know what to think about the person's question.  Is it cheesy to say you would die for your country?  Or wrong to expect that some of us -- tragically, sadly, but with open eyes -- might?  In some ways I feel it devalues our jobs to suggest that we shouldn't expect that.

On Thursday, they changed our State memorial wall to show the name of the officer who was killed last month.  Today, I went to the office for a bit, then to the Vietnam Memorial across the street.  A troop of school children was filing out of the V-shaped depression, headed toward the Lincoln Memorial.  A church group gathered nearby, singing.  Tourists were milling around.  Maybe because of that officer's work, those people will be more secure.  Maybe they will have a better life.  I hope so.

And maybe because of the work of all the other officers who came before me, I have a better life.  I want to believe that.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Katie. Beautifully said.

Powerfully said.

Andy said...

Great post, I can completely relate to what you are saying. I have often been asked similar questions and feel a perplexed response as you suggest. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Katie said...

Thanks -- I hope things stay well with you.