I’ve been pretty quiet with my writing lately and I apologize. I am still trying to balance being a wife, mom to 2 under 2, student and blogger. I’ll get better at being more consistent though, I promise!😉
Anywho, today is Memorial Day and growing up I was under the impression that it was to honor veterans for their service. So we have cookouts, hang out with the family and celebrate this day off from school and, for some, work. Now let’s fast forward to my life as a military wife.
I was a military wife for 5 years. Being stationed at Ft. Bliss, I learned a whole lot. You learn pretty fast acronyms and army lingo. I’ll go more into detail in another post but not here. I say all that to say that we also met a lot of new people and got close to quite a few as well. I knew most of the people my husband was in the unit with because for a long time we had only one car and I’d take him to and from the company(where he worked). One of the guys he worked with was named SFC Corley. He was just the sweetest. He was one of the few higher ranking soldiers that didn’t take advantage of his position and guided my husband through his 1st year as a soldier.
Within the 1st year of getting out of Basic Training, my husband deployed with his unit to Afghanistan. The day we saw our soldiers off, SFC Corley was with his wife and son. His son asked him if he was going to fight the bad guys and his father replied “yes”. And off they went.
A month later, I moved on post with the help of my good friend, who’s husband also was deployed with mine. Living on post(the base) is a completely different world thmban off post. There were days my husband just couldn’t reach me because he was on a mission or maybe the internet was out. I did my best not to let the negative get to my mind but every day I didn’t hear from my soldier and knowing the country he was in was unsettling. I was told that any death notifications were given by personnel driving black vehicles. Any black vehicle that just happened to slow down in front of our place kept me glued to the window till they finally passed. You hear stories of that black vehicle pulling up in front of your house and I must say it is scary!
My husband came home early for his 2 weeks of R&R. Though I was glad to have my soldier home for a bit, I wished they sent him closer to when he came back home. One night we received news that we lost 3 from his unit. One of the trucks being driven was hit with an IED(improvised explosive device). They weren’t going to release names till the families were notified. Finally, while laying in bed, I received a text….Corley was one of the 3.
My heart sunk and tears came.
My husband didn’t know how to process the news. He felt like he should’ve been there, maybe there was something he could’ve done.
The last military ball they had before deployment, we remember Corley laughing with his wife and just having a good ole time.
My heart ached for his family!! I couldn’t imagine getting that kind of news but the possibility was still there so long as they were deployed!
The memorial service was emotional. His wife had moved back home to the Philippines while he was deployed so she wasn’t able to be there. A memorial service for a fallen hero is way different than any other wake I’d been to, of course.
They do a last roll call. They call off names of soldiers from the unit(in this case the ones who stayed behind), they reply with “Here first sergeant” or “here sergeant” and the fallen soldiers are the last names called. It is first called out with their rank and last name eg. Pvt. Doe. Of course, there is no response so then it is called out with rank, first and last name eg. Pvt. John Doe… and then the last time the name is called it is rank, first, middle, and last name eg. Pvt John Joseph Doe. After there is no response for the third time the firing squad of 7 people fires three volleys and then taps is played. The ceremony includes a display of boots with a rifle stuck in the ground between them and a helmet resting on top, and also the person’s picture.
Memorial Day is not there to thank the veterans or those currently serving. It is about honoring those who have fallen for our freedom!! It’s about remembering those families who’d loved one never returned home!
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave