Recently I watched a film with Tim Robbins called "The Lucky Ones" about a group of wounded soldiers on leave back in the States from Iraq. It reminded me of why I loved serving my country in the Army during Desert Storm and just how much of that confidence has dwindled over the years of being jobless and homeless. No matter how tough I felt and how much my "I'm gonna get through this" attitude I had, getting only a couple hours of sleep at a time and having no real way to afford quelling my injuries from the service got me down. Bad, sometimes.
Even more, this film showed me how much the civilian populations could benefit from some confidence courses like the ones in basic training. Here is an opinion, I think that loddy doddy everybody (words of the drill sergeants coming out) would be so much more if they only knew what they were capable of, and had to depend on other complete strangers in dire straits. Just riding the bus to my new job, I notice that the guy next to whom I sat suddenly was just looking out the window, like a poodle who'd been caught pissing on something and had his pouty little nose stuffed in the corner. It's not just him, either - I can see the perceived oppression on too many faces as I walk through Seattle. From what? What is so threatening about sharing a seat on a bus?
It was so refreshing to see the medic sergeant in the movie using an absent doctor's office, against the warnings of the attending receptionist/nurse/whoever, to treat his fellow soldier's bleeding leg, because he CAN. We learn that there is a time for protocol, and a time to Get It Done. No professional around? Let the able-bodied people do it. We don't need titles or permission to aid urgent things. After basic, I felt like I could walk from one end of America to the other, and not only could I defend myself, nobody was a stranger. In the military, you can talk to just about anyone about just about anything. The Fear Factor just vanishes.
Well, in the end, the film was poignant in that the poor, homeless and unwanted found that the Army was their home - not because of the camaraderie, which is lacking so much in civilian life, but because there weren't any other perceived options. But that is how it is outside the movies. Those are the men and women trying to serve you. My hopes on this day echo a statement from John Rambo: For our country to love us as much as we love it. May it happen soon.