Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lone Survivor

Greetings all!

Sorry I wasn't around yesterday, I woke up feeling like a bag of dirt to put it lightly. My face was full of snot and I have a wheeze in my chest, I felt like I hadn't slept at all.. probably because I really hadn't and my day consisted of tea on the couch with my word search book. Sad I know. I never get sick but yesterday I felt awful, my entire body hurt from the neck down.. I think from being sick and from diving into the workout movement after having stuffed my face full of crap and did nothing over the holidays. A day of rest did this girl good, minus the fact that I woke up feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Having said that I did a weigh in this morning (I may just join Heather over at Pretty Strong Medicine in her weigh in Wednesdays if I continue to get these results!) and I have lost 5lbs!!! I couldn't have been more thrilled, for me I am that much more motivated when I see results! Still sticking to the super clean eating and exercise and besides being sick I definitely can feel a difference in my body!

Dinner the other night looked like this...

I went sans potato and stocked up on the veggies. Plus I only ate half of this delectable meat! It was excellent!

My day yesterday looked like this.. a comfy sweater! When my Dad was here he bought me this awesome sweater while we were in Chapel Hill and I couldn't love it more! It is thick and warm, super comfy and exactly what I needed yesterday!

Anyways I was planning to blog yesterday about our movie date on Monday night but my head was in such a deep fog yesterday! Jason and I enjoy going to the movies, its truthfully not something we do often but while Jason is working it is the perfect date night and something different from just dinner!

We are HUGE Mark Walhberg fans and when we recently saw an advertisement for his new movie Lone Survivor we knew that was going to be our movie night out! I didn't look into the movie before we went and saw it, we saw little clips on TV advertisements and thought it looked good and went. I don't think I was prepared for what exactly I was going to see.

You see, being from Canada we don't have the military interaction that I have had since living in the States. The concept of our military at home vs the military her is completely different, most likely because of size but I believe because of the terrorism that has effected the United States.

When I worked in Alaska I worked pretty closely with the Military and Air Force, I got to know a ton of men and women who proudly serve our country and give up and sacrifice more then we as civilians will ever know. At the very beginning of my position it was important for me to get to know the people I would see regularly and who would be calling me and what not, and there is one person that I will absolutely never forget. Henry Williams. For some reason that name will always stick with me. I got to know Mr. Williams for about a month or so before his sudden departure, he was quiet and polite, originally from Texas but had PCS'd to Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson in Alaska after returning from a tour in Afghanistan. I knew that Mr. Williams was a single father and out there all alone with his daughter trying to balance a military work schedule and be there for his young daughter, he seemed to do a great job.

On afternoon I got a call from Mr. Williams that said he was being deployed immediately and would need to get out of his lease. He said that he would bring in his paperwork (as required there was no penalty for breaking your lease if you received military orders) and would need to do this as soon as possible as his daughter would need to head back to Texas to live with his sister while he was abroad. I told him we would get things moving as soon as possible and when he was ready to do his walk thru to just let me know. I went over to his empty apartment with Mr. Williams and he told me about how he was promised not to deploy and that is why he had moved his daughter out there, after being away for so long it was important to him to give her a stable home. It broke my heart to walk around that spotless apartment and think of his disappointment and hurt, there were no words to fathom the loss he was going to feel missing his daughter once again for who knew how long, while keeping his head on straight as he went to the front lines. I asked Mr. Williams why it was that he was given such short noticed, why the terms of his status at the base had changed, and he put his head down and said the he had been called upon to take the place of a fallen soldier. He was going to taken the place of a soldier who had obviously been in a dangerous situation and lost his life, he was going into enemy territory to take the place of a man or woman who most likely expected to return home and now never would.

This is what these men and women do, they put their country first... no matter what the circumstances and who they leave behind, they go, they ask no questions, they do not complain, they kiss their loved ones goodbye and they go to fight for the freedom of those they have left behind. There really is no words for that. My heart broke in that moment for Mr. Williams, the single father of a young girl, so young himself. Whether he said it or not I have to believe he had a plan, feeling safe and secure State side for the first time in a long time and in a minutes notice, one piece of paper took that away. He got his affairs in order, dealt with things that needed to be dealt with and prepared himself to board a plane for somewhere dangerous and far away.

That afternoon with tears in my eyes I wished Mr. Williams luck, I told him to stay safe and come home. I thanked him for all he sacrifices for me and this whole country.I don't know why I had such a hard time with it, I didn't know Mr. Williams long enough to cry over his departure, but in that moment I felt like I did. I welled up with tears thinking of him and his loved ones, and all the others who go through similar situations and have nothing but hope, hope that they will come back. I often think of Mr. Williams, probably not that much older then me, I wonder if he made it home to his daughter, I wonder what he saw out there, I wonder....

Mr. Williams wasn't the only military gentlemen I got to know. I got to know Sgt. Taylor quite well too, Mr. Taylor has 5 kids back at home in Washington with his wife and he was in Alaska after returning from his third tour abroad. Mr. Taylor had the best sense of humor, I often teased him about his custom Comaro and how will it managed in the harsh LONG Alaskan winters, I always asked about his wife and kids. He liked to say that he would soon retire from the military and get a "real" job. He wanted to work for Microsoft or some other major tech company, he had done what he could for his country and it was time to move on. One day Mr. Taylor stopped in to pay rent or something of the sort and I could tell he was troubled, lonely life coming home to an empty apartment every night when you have a wife, kids and home thousands of miles away. Mr. Taylor told me that night he suffered from PTSD after his second tour, being shot and having his convoy hit by a road side bomb and having to watch his fellow men die in front of him. Hosing the blood of his friends out of a military vehicle and moving on. How do you survive that? Live day to day and not ask, why not me? How to do you go home every night and sit in an empty apartment and not think of that exact moment and play it over and over again in your head. You see that's exactly what Mr. Taylor does, all for the brotherhood, for his country.

You see I didn't realize we were going to see Mark Walhberg portray a true story of a man named Marcus Luttrell and a 2005 mission him and 3 other soldiers embarked on that went terribly wrong. I didn't realize that we were going to watch men fight for their lives and each others in a strange unfamiliar place. Yes in military movies people die, but not like this.. I sat there wondering how many men and women lived or died in an event so similar to this it gave me chills.

These four men took on an army of Taliban alone, four men against a hundred or more.. up on a mountain in the middle of no where, bombs flying, guns going off faster then popcorn pops.. I sat there holding Jason's hand just wanting it to be over. Of the four men that set out to capture a leader of the Taliban only one of them came home. Marcus Luttrell came home because of Afghan men and women of a near by village who fight their own fight against the hate and lack of humanity everyday. These men and women risked their life to save that of an American, and they did.

Marcus Luttrell is lucky to be alive today, I say that but I can imagine what his life is like today. Jason came home and did a little reading on him, he has a young song named "Axe" after one of his fallen comrades. The army gave him a golden retriever to help him cope with his severe PTSD and apparently some neighborhood thugs shot it dead (I mean seriously?). This man has been to hell and back to fight for his country, he has lost friends, seen things no person should ever see, and most likely watched his life flash before his eyes, all so that you and I can have the life we do. How do you say thank you for that?

Americans support their troops, they give the utmost respect, they hang their flags outside their homes proud to be American. But do we do enough? Do these veterans who have served their country and been through these awful things have all the resources they need when they come home? I cant imagine jumping back into life as a husband and father, wife and mother after coming back from war is easy. They say these men and women are trained, they are prepared for war, but are you ever? Can you ever be prepared to see the things they see, do the things they do, live each day, each moment wondering if it will be your last.

There are no words for the movie Lone Survivor, its riveting, well written, realistic in ways you want and ways you wish you had never seen, the movie is amazing and horrific all at the same time. If you get a chance definitely go and see it, and if you see someone in the military... thank them.. because no matter how many times we do it, it will never be enough.

I wish things were like they use to be, where we didn't have to worry about terrorism and the hate that lives in this world today.  I wish families didn't have to spend months wondering if their loved ones are going to come home, if the last time they kissed them goodbye was the last time. I wish kids didn't have to grow up without parents because their mother or father was killed in the line of duty and I wish that there was something more we could do to eliminate the threat across the world that breeds terrorist daily! I wish a lot of things that may never be, so instead I will be thankful.

We take a lot of things for granted in everyday life and that is normal, but maybe today just be a little extra thankful for all that you have and more importantly who you have.

HERE is a recent interview with Marcus Luttrell and his reaction to the critics of the movie Lone Survivor.

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