“Hup, hup, hup Calvary-oh“
Today, my mother found old photographs from my days as a Cav Trooper in The Seventh United States Cavalry. Good ole Garry Owen made an indelible impression on my life. I was an eager to lace up my boots and do what needed to be done for the safety and security of my country. Two months after 9/11 occurred, I was in Basic Training preparing to go to war when called upon. I felt no one should come to these United States and kill our citizens in our own country. Until that fateful day in September, war had always been an abstract concept which only occurred in far off, forgotten realms. The thought that war would come to America was impossible to fathom, but it arrived in the form of airliners crashing into the World Towers in New York.
“I want them to pay….”
This thought was the fuel which fed my intense desire to see this grievous wrong set right. From rifle marksmanship to bayonet training, I put my heart and soul into becoming the lethal war machine the Army was attempting to turn me into.
“What makes the green grass grow?”
My fellow trainees and I would shout at the top of our lungs….
“Blood, Blood, Blood, bright red blood Drill Sergeant!”
“I want them to pay….”
Ask any soldier, and they will tell you the first one hundred days on ground and the last one hundred are the most dangerous times of your deployment. Day thirty or so, I met an Iraqi gentleman who conned me out of my watch. He informed me of his thoughts on the current President (George W.) and how he made Iraq a safer place.
“President Bush is a good man!’
“Oh yeah? You know him personally do you…”
“No, but he made Iraq free, like America!”
“Has he ever invited you over for dinner? Does President Bush allow you to date his daughters?”
“Listen, I am happy, if you’re happy. You will never be able to maintain your freedom, because you didn’t have to fight for it like we did in America. Freedom has a different taste when it is won by your sweat, tears and sacrifice.”
The day trailed on, and the local workers went to their homes, and I slowly made my way back to the barracks. “These people are just like me. We are all trying to make it in this topsy-turvy world. They want to make enough money to live off of, to buy a few nice things for their homes and their entire lives have been turned upside down.” Suddenly, having someone to pay for the attacks on New York was not important. The blinders had been lifted off my eyes. It doesn’t matter if we belong to one race or another, we are all trying to survive this craziness called life. Life became very hectic after this realization, and somewhere it was backlogged in the memory banks of my mind. The lesson remains, we are all people and we are no different than the others who share this planet with us. Take care of yourselves and find a way to love one another.
Garry Owen 1-7 Cav.
27 August 2019