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2003-06-06 - 8:50 a.m.

It is Mitch's birthday today. Happy Birthday Mitch.

Today is June 6th. This also means D-Day. So many years ago... is there anyone my age that can really appreciate what those soldiers did that day?

When I was younger, Veterans Day meant the day Mom put clothing in a bag on the street and someone would come and pick it up. I thought it was a stupid holiday. I had no concept of what being a Veteran meant. Especially growing up in Minnesota, where there isn't exactly a strong military presence. The first person I ever saw in a uniform was my recruiter.

Even after having been in the army for almost 5 years now, I still have very little concept of the soldier. I work in a building on a computer during crazy hours, next to airmen, sailors, marines, and civilians. My greatest threat is falling asleep behind the wheel driving home. What is it really like to be shot at? To shoot someone? We're so far removed from the battlefield that most of my coworkers view the killed as abstractions, "the bad guys," not humans. It depresses me. The way I earn my livelihood is by helping win a war I'm not sure we should be fighting.

I'm pleased I made the decision to join the military because it has opened my eyes to a part of the world I would have previously ignored. There are so many people out there in the military who make a lot of sacrifices for this country. I think it's unfortunate that our leaders make the decisions that they do, and take advantage of the soldiers willing to make these sacrifices, because we're not in Iraq for altruistic reasons, that's for damn sure. Not to mention, there are a lot of shitbags in the military. But I try not to let my mind be clouded by these assholes. There are a lot of beautiful things people do for our country and for the people in it, and these are the people who are going to make the world a better place. Serving in our armed forces is an important part of the puzzle in helping shape our country into all the things it claims to be.

That having been said, I'm more than ready to leave the military at this point. I have been ready for years. A positive way of looking at my life right now is that circumstances have conspired to hold me here for soooo long, and after having made all the bad decisions I have, and digging myself into such a hole, if I can still manage to be happy, I can be happy anywhere. I can do anything.

It is very difficult to do this. If I had to do this job much longer, it would kill me. I don't belong in an institution like this. But I try to appreciate where life has taken me.

The other day, I was about to go to work but had to stop at the grocery store. I was wearing my uniform. Sometimes I get dirty looks from people. They don't understand that just because I'm serving in the armed forces doesn't mean I agree 100% with our country's decisions; their look seems to imply that in fact I'm the hidden face behind Bush and I'm the one that's been making all the decisions from behind the scenes. An E-4 living in Augusta, GA: the republican's secret weapon. I try and shoot them a look saying, why yes, I'm here just to make all the native Georgians' lives a living hell. I don't need food, I'm just here to annoy you. BUT the other day, a mom was walking with her young boy, and he pointed at me and said, "Look Mom, that girl's in the ARMY," like it was the coolest thing in the world. To have a child's respect is more precious than any misguided adult's.

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