Friday, November 24, 2006

Girls

You’re right, Lisanne - there are no “girls” over here

Lisanne always corrects me when I mention “the girls” we have over here. She’s fairly insistent that any female old enough to carry a rifle and put their life on the line be treated (and referred to) as a full-grown women. And although some of her passion may come from the fact that she herself joined the military soon after turning18, that doesn’t detract from the fact that she’s absolutely right.

Although I knew this to be true, until today I still found it difficult to really accept it. Some of the women here are almost dwarfed by the weapons they carry, and several look as if they’d be more at home in an 11th grade algebra class than in a dusty Humvee. I may be getting old, but to me they sound more like my teenaged daughter talking than grown woman, especially when amongst themselves. I don’t know - maybe I just didn’t want to think of the possibility of Anais being over here in four years.

Then, while standing in line at the chow hall this afternoon, I noticed one of these so-called “girls.” I’d seen her before - she was the quintessential high school cheerleader; short blond hair, pretty face, and popular. Now her arm was bandaged in two places and hung limply in an olive drab sling. Above her right eye was a bandage that didn’t quite cover the light-colored burn marks on the side of her face and forehead. And I could see several stitches in the pink bald spot where her hair had been rather inexpertly cut away. But she was still smiling, just like always.

She’s not in my unit so I don’t know what exactly happened, but I do know that it takes a grown woman to go through getting shot, blasted, or burned like that, and to still smile about it. Although I kept my silence, inside I wanted to tell her that I was sorry - sorry for her being here, sorry for what had happened, sorry for the scars… And especially sorry for ever thinking of her as anything less than an American soldier, just like the rest of us.

4 Comments:

Blogger Shelleigh said...

Here you have identified the difference between being a girl and a woman. Here you have identified "roles". Had that young lady received her wounds making mac'n'cheese for her family, in their kitchen... she is doing and taking the knocks for those she loves; So valiant.

You noticed. You wrote about it. You put it there in front of us.

If every man and woman were so honest and forthright and so willing to "take it all on", there would be family again.

There is much (so much) more to those of you who are "over there"...and so much more to those of you who are here waiting...

God/dess bless you Mark...L<3A... A and J.

November 25, 2006 4:53 AM  
Blogger pbinkowski7142 said...

I don't know how I could love you more but I do after reading your kind words about the injured woman soldier.
I am so proud of you, Mark. I hope me and your dad had some small part in shaping the man and soldier you have become.

Yo Yo

November 25, 2006 11:30 AM  
Anonymous Pixie said...

Yo yo:

I hope me and your dad had some small part in shaping the man and soldier you have become.

Count on it.

November 26, 2006 2:31 PM  
Blogger teamlutz said...

Your insightfulness and ability to express it is truly beautiful. A gift. Thank you for exposing your inner thoughts and sharing them so openly - they have a profound impact on me.

Shannon

December 01, 2006 10:26 AM  

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