Update from Afghanistan
Greetings friends and readers,
I apologize for not writing in a few weeks, it’s been extremely difficult to find an internet connection here, and I have to get the blogs approved by the Army before posting them.
Well, I’ve been here for a few weeks now and am now starting to get into a pattern. Its wake up, eat, work, lunch, work, dinner, work, and then free time. After the first week I found out that your friends here become like family. We are with each other literally non-stop, and they are the ones who keep us going when we feel like we are running out of energy. I do my best to have a smile on my face every day, even when I don’t feel like it. I’ve realized that just by having a smile it makes everyone’s day go better.
This week we lost one of our soldiers. Death is never an easy thing to understand or deal with. I’ve heard about soldiers dying; however these deaths never really hit home. It was when we lost one of our own that it hit. Because of the unit being so close, it is like losing a family member. These guys are the best, it feels like it can’t happen to us, but then reality starts to set in. It’s hard to lose one of us.
On the outside I did my best to stay strong but on the inside I was hurt. The guys in my unit are very good at hiding our emotions, and don’t like to admit that we are hurt. Being that we are so close as a unit, I was able to rely on my friends to get through the tough time. It’s my job as a Chaplain Assistant to put into motion a Memorial Ceremony. The unit has a Standard Operating Procedure for the Memorial and I have to set it up and ensure that the bulletins are printed and that everything looks as good as it can for the ceremony.
For those of you who are not familiar with a Memorial Ceremony it’s a way for the unit to say goodbye to our fallen comrade. First the National Anthem is played to start the Ceremony. The Commander then shares his thoughts with us; a member of the team will speak, followed by remarks from the Chaplain. This is followed by the playing of the “Ballad of the Green Beret.” A roll call is then made by the Command Sergeant Major, followed by a 21 gun salute and the playing of “Taps.” At conclusion of the Ceremony every service member present salutes the Memorial holding the departed soldier’s photograph.
The Ceremony is designed to bring closure to our emotional wounds. It’s hard to say goodbye to someone. Everyone’s eyes were moist at the conclusion of the Ceremony. I think that it’s extremely important to have this kind of closure. Although we will still hold the pain in our hearts, it definitely helps with the healing process.
Though the team is still grieving, they went right back to work. These guys are truly incredible people! And I’m blessed to be able to serve with them.
I will attempt to get more blogs out in a timely manner, however please just note that it takes some time to get them through the Army’s system and then posted onto JaxDaily.com.
I want to again thank you all for the opportunity to serve this great nation that we live in, and for the chance to serve you.
Lake Ray, IV