I talked to Zach yesterday he sounded so good. He was happy to be back in Germany but was upset that there are no days off! He said that everyday he has briefing, in processing and debriefing. I told him these are important things that are part of integrating back into society from a combat zone. He agreed and said it is part of the Army game. It will take time for him to wind down, but it will take time for us to wind down as well. What a trial this has been for our family and for him. It is the same for thousands upon thousands of families across America and in countless allied countries around the world. So many have suffered through a year or two or three of this hardship, and yet others saw the hardship abruptly end and grieving begin. Today in the paper I saw the picture of young girl crying into the fold American flag that had just been given to her. Moments before it was draped over the coffin that held her fathers body. No words spoken or mere mention of his being a hero can ever ebb the grief that will be with that young girl probably for the rest of her life.
This is why Zach feels so much desire to achieve now, he feels that he must live life to the fullest and achieve his potential to honor those who fell. For his friend Matthew Hennigan, who was killed in a fire fight and with whom Zach was to go snow boarding this winter. I believe Zach is destined to great things, not just because he is my son, and I admit that does make me biased, but also because of his great understanding of what is right and just. He understands that fair is only determined by those in charge. However, just and right are concepts that are quantifiable, discernable and defendable. He is a student of history and understands the magnitude of his decisions and actions, he understands the legacy of his military service, the importance of education what it means to sacrifice not in words but in actions.
The one thing I truly feel that I have done right as a parent is to allow my children to be independent and given them the tools to be confident in that while being good citizens. I have always tried to do the same with my exchange kids and we all have such good relationships for that reason. Life is not easy, never has been, never will be but the desire to succeed and do well will keep it fresh and interesting. For Zach that chapter is now in its infancy but the real adventure begins.
For Lisa and I as well, I cried when I found out he was in Germany, it was like I was in Limbo from Afghanistan fatigue. Kyrgyzstan is still a somewhat hostile country they let us have the base there because we bid more than the Russians, ah but Germany – beer, brats, sauerkraut, potato dumplings, sauerbraten and the like. I could relax, I can relax enjoy it Zach, I look forward to seeing you here in Maine. The air is different, the sky is bluer, and even the auto repair bill thanks to our fabulous Maine roads can’t remove my smile and good cheer today!
You are superman, I love you Zach!