Until two years ago, I thought it was rather courageous of me to be planning to backpack around the world as soon as I could muster up the money. I was going to give an obscene gesture to “the man” and delve into the counter-culture of backpacking and the vagabond's lifestyle.
Then Jon, my younger brother, joined the Marine Reserves and my perspective on courage changed drastically. He knew he'd be going to Iraq when he joined, yet he did so anyways out of a sense of duty to his country. I use to think such words were cheesy and vapid, until I sensed the sincerity behind them after he joined (while trying to justify the action with his petrified older brother and parents).
Last week we received an e-mail from him after he arrived safely in Kuwait. Two days later was his first e-mail from Iraq, which was surprisingly upbeat. It's the 16th country he's visited (he's ahead of me in that regard, though not for long). Below is an excerpt:
Funniest thing so far: Immediately after landing in a combat zone, we stand in line to receive our linens. Some of them are pink, tinker bell sheets.
Regardless of your thoughts on the war, please keep our soldiers, and the innocent people of Iraq in your thoughts and prayers. I know I will.