That's too long a blurb.
Dominican-American army brat.
Yesterday was Veteran's day. Today I remember what my parents, specifically my father, has done for us three kids. It's more than I can sum up, obviously.
I was made in Korea. They almost didn't let my mother board the plane back to the states, something about being too pregnant. I guess that's a thing? Anyway, they made it, from two cold years stationed in Korea, to Ft. Polk, Louisiana just in time for my birth. My father joined the army in Puerto Rico, having moved the family from Dominican Republic a few years before. He tells me stories sometimes of his time making it through basic training, not knowing English. The "issues" and the absurdities that resulted. He always has a sense of humor.
To join the armed forces is to sign away your rights to self-determination. You give your life over to governmental control; they tell you where to live, what occupation to engage in, when to rise, when to leave your family, when you can speak up and when to shutup. That's my perspective on it. You do it willingly, but in some places, in some situations where jobs are scarce, where money is scarcer, the signature doesn't seem like too much of a choice. I've never asked my father about that decision. It must've been a hard one, but he never made it seem that way.
When I found out my father was ill with something that was never going to go away, with something he and my mother had been dealing with for years I realize now, I felt something bitter, seething and mistrustful, about the institution to which he had signed away his life. I mean, more so. No one decides to get sick, to be deployed in a war zone where the smoke fills your lungs, where the source of illness is so diffuse and prevalent, where you see suffering and terrible shit done in the name of your country, or freedom. While I have MANY feelings about the army's role, purpose overseas, America's colonial arm extended, war-mongering and fear-mongering, I can for a moment separate this: I can just be thankful for what my father sacrificed to give us opportunities we certainly wouldn't have had otherwise. I hope to love something and someone so much, that if necessary I would sign my life away. It bowls me over. Truly, Honestly.
Fatherly love today.