Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thanksgiving 11

Today is the day we honor our veterans...
Hey? That would be me, right?
Better pour yourself something to drink...this is gonna be a wordy one....

December 1983, my dorm room phone rang. It was my mom, saying she and Dad were heading to WI because she needed "surgery". But, no need to worry, she'd be fine. She encouraged me to do well on my first semester exams and she's be home by the time I came home for Winter Break.

By the time all was said and done, yes, she needed surgery, but there was a real reason to worry. She had breast cancer and it was rather extensive. The prognosis was questionable. It was a time of great uncertainty: health and financial worries were unspoken truths that our entire family experienced to some degree.

So, when the junk mail arrived after winter break and there was a letter from the UW Army-ROTC department telling about the nursing school scholarships available , the light bulb in my brain went off....and by later that year, I was raising my hand, taking the first oath of office, joining ROTC.

Yes, it started out as a purely financial decision.
There was really nothing very patriotic about my choosing to serve our nation.

It was practical solution to a attribute I've always been proud of possessing.
But by the time I hung up my uniform for good (Summer 1994), I had gained so much more than "paying for college". I worked with some extremely dedicated health care professionals. We took care of our military community when they were sick, dying or injured. The friends I made in the service are those that you consider your "forever" friends. Oh the stories they can tell (but thankfully, don't!). The leadership experience I was given surpassed anything I would have gained through working in some random hospital, doing random nursing jobs. The training I received was unsurpassed in quality and expertise. It would forever change the course of my career.

I owe so much of who I am today to what I gained while serving in the military!
Today, I"m thankful that I am a veteran!

It was indeed an honor to serve....


Mrs. Kravitz said...

Well said, Martha! And by the way, you are totally adorable in all your pictures! I'm very thankful for the armed forces, too!

Laura said...

THANK YOU! For your service to our country, and to our family. I am honored by and proud of the role you have in each.

With a salute and a HUG.