Friday, February 13, 2009

Brothers: Part Two

As I said in my post yesterday, my brother in a member of the Army. He joined the National Guard when he was seventeen, did boot camp the summer of his junior year in high school, graduated high school and went straight to his training at eighteen. He's now twenty-one, soon to be twenty-two, married, and expecting his first child soon. He bough his first house a few months ago, and Keisha and I were a bit jealous of their beautiful home.

Jake was asked to be my best man for my wedding, but he was going to be out of the country at the time. In fact, he was going to be twelve miles from Baghdad serving his country. At our wedding we decided to group everyone together and hold signs saying "We Miss You," get a few pictures, and send one to Iraq. We communicated through email and phone calls, both of which were very sporadic.

Now we don't seem to see each other except for holidays. We talk on the phone for a few minutes every once in a while, and the same is true for him and mom, too. The point in people's lives where they become completely independent is a great point, but it also is a sad stage, too. Like Holden Caulfield, we all step out into society and face disillusionment. As we get older we think back to when we were young and wish we could go back to better times. We look back at our past when things were easier and less complicated, when we had no burdens, when our only worries were what color popsicle to choose.

I think back to when I was little and me and Jake and Mom would get in the car and go to Sonic for drinks. We didn't have much money, but we had enough to get treats and enjoy our time together. We were raised in church, thus we spent Sunday's and Wednesday's there. We spent most of our time together and shared the same friends, most of whom were family or church family.

This same group of friends--Me, Jake, Chris, Jordan, Adam, Spenser, Nick--spent a lot of time together, playing tennis between church services, going camping many nights during the summer. Once we got in high school, William and Adam Graham became my best friends (and they still both are two of my best), and our normal group expanded. Still we all went camping together, and we all loved to burn stuff.

Friends, like brothers, are something to thank God for. I think back to when we were younger and those times we all shared together, and again it makes me a bit nostalgic. I don't want to go back in time, however; I want to continue our friendships into the future. I want to hang out with these same folks when I'm fifty, still camping and still playing tennis. Sadly, though, my brother doesn't seem to be hanging out with the group much anymore. And this sucks because the group does not get together much anymore.

A big part of this is because of the Army. Jake is so busy with the Army that he does not have the time to hang out with us, or he's busy working and can't. I have respect for the Armed Forces, but I do wish I could have my brother back sometimes. Again, like Holden Caulfield, my brother served in Iraq, and I'm sure he saw things he would rather have not. The horrors and effects of war are not envied, and I do not wish them on anyone, especially not my brother.

I want to extend a "Thank You" to all of our brothers in the Armed Forces out there. Those of you that serve our country, we would not be where we are today without you. You will always have my respect, support, and appreciation. May God bless you.

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