An American soldier, a veteran of Iraq, once told me, "You know, being a warrior’s not like the movies, that’s for sure." He continued,
"You know, it just goes back to the same – you’re not thinking about your family. Not thinking about what you’re doing the next day. All you’re thinking about is your guys, especially in a firefight. You’re thinking about their safety and how you’re going to get out of their predicament in one piece. And you’re not thinking about anything else but that. And when guys...get wounded, if you talk to the team that was with them, I guarantee you they wren’t thinking about anything but saving his life and getting him out of there in one piece.
"If you have second thoughts on anything, it’s going to make things worse. And if you start, when you’re going on a mission or whatever, if you start thinking about your kids and all that other stuff, it kind of throws you off track, off balance a little bit.
"In my situation, like, my wife and my family are supporters of anything I do, and they understood, my wife understood, if I didn’t get up with her for 2-3 weeks its because we’re busy doing missions. There’s not a phone available and I can’t write a letter, and she understood all that."
It's tragically poetic. You have to forget your family so you can see them again. You have to forget your country so you can defend it. You have to put everything you love out of your mind so you can survive long enough to love it longer.
I'm a nobody in an obscure corner of the Internet, and I know what I say won't go too far, but sometimes you say something just because it's the right thing to say.
Veterans, thank you.