I Should Have Given More

God, Country, Family.

This is the code we are supposed to live by.

I served my country 4 years active duty and 2.5 years as a reservist. I wish I could have given more.

I have done a lot of things, right and wrong, but the one thing that I regret most is that I wish I could have given more.

I remember (like most people) where I was and what I was doing when those Towers were struck and fell. I remember like it was just yesterday, the emotions and feelings I felt that day. That day, I knew I was destined to join the service and protect the freedoms of this great country. I KNEW I would FIGHT for those freedoms and seek revenge on those who took the lives of great American people. That day my destiny became crystal clear.

But I should have given more.

I signed (my life away) at 17 years old with the (happy) approval of my father and (skeptical approval of my) mother. All I wanted to do was make a difference and ensure the safety of American lives.

I feel like I have failed.

I know in my heart that this isn’t true. I know I did a noble thing by joining the United States Navy. I know I did what 99% of other Americans wouldn’t or couldn’t do. I know I could have done more.

There are an enormous amount of reasons why someone joins the Armed Forces. There are very few who join to actually give their lives for the sake of their country and the people who live in it. I know this because I have encountered many of these people. Now I am not saying that their hearts didn’t change or their motives weren’t pure. I am not taking ANYTHING away from these men and women. I am just saying that not everyone joins for the same reason and that there are many incentives to become a service member.

All I can do is speak for myself and tell you that I joined to protect and serve this country in the noblest of ways. I was prepared to give my life for the people who enjoy the freedoms of the greatest country in the world.

Sometimes, it upsets me that I did not pay that price. Sometimes, I wish I could have given this country everything. Sometimes, I feel like I am a failure for not doing that.

There are a lot of reasons why I chose the Navy. There are a lot of reasons why I believe an 18 year old shouldn’t be able to make that choice. My biggest regret is that I didn’t stay. I didn’t help my shipmates and comrades. I didn’t do enough.

I left because I had a family and it was growing. Now I love my children and would do ANYTHING for them. I wouldn’t change that for the world. But I chose them over my country. I chose to be a father instead of a sailor/soldier. I don’t regret that, but I should have given more.

This may not all make sense to a lot of you. Hell, most of you might think I’m nuts. But it makes sense to me and it makes me disappointed in myself that I didn’t give more. I am a man torn in two. A family man and a man who would give his life for a piece of land that he believes is the greatest piece of land that his kids could grow up in. A man, who all he wants to do is keep them safe and protected for generations to come.

I have been torn in 2 since the day I left active duty. I thought I wanted something and was too stubborn to see that I was wrong and selfish.

I should have done more.

I should have given more.

I should have fulfilled my destiny.

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Empty

I am an empty shell of my former self

An egg without its yoke

An empty bottle staring me in the face

A hollowed out tree

That won’t bear fruit when the seasons change

I’m on an eerie street

With snow falling to the ground

The moonlight is suffocated by the clouds on high

An empty vase

With nothing filling its empty space

Lost in the woods without a way to escape

I’m trapped in a hole

With no top to climb out

Enraged in a cage

With no one to hear my screams

I don’t even look strong on the outside

It’s as obvious as it seems