frenchtown fiber

Chris Mundy and Kate House try to make art while navigating the crap life throws at them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Son, the Veteran

Today is veteran's day, so I thought it would be a good day to talk about my son. When he was 5 years old he began to request military haircuts. At that time it was popular to not let your children play with toy guns. Drew would make his own gun, out of a banana, his LEGOs, a branch from a tree. When he was 6 years old he would make me read him articles from Time magazine during the gulf war. He had wanted to join the Marines since he was 12. I honestly did not think he was the type; he was one of those people that just always marched to a different drummer, so to speak. I tried to buy him any books I could find that I thought would give him a realistic idea of what he was getting into, but, it didn't change his mind, so, in he went, 2 weeks after his 18th birthday. I remember the recruiters picked him up at some ungodly hour, like 3am, to take him to Paris Island. My parents were there to say good bye.

I downloaded a chart that showed you what he would be doing every day for the three months he was at Paris Island. I wonder if I still have that anywhere? I would think, today Drew will be rappelling off of a 20 foot high wall! I didn't speak to him for all that time, but we did have a lively exchange of letters. I still have all of them. If I had thought of it, I would have scanned one to show you, some of them were down right hilarious. He's a good writer.

When he was done with Paris Island, we went to see him graduate. It was a great proud moment. Especially considering there were people in my family that had doubts that he would make it. After Paris Island he went to North Carolina for infantry training, then to Fort Sill in Oklahoma for MOS training. Finally, at the end of January he arrived at Camp Pendleton where he was to be stationed. As soon as he arrived he called and told me he was being deployed to Iraq. I told him it had to be a mistake, he just got in! No mistake, he was going in early February.

This picture is from his first deployment. We would send him disposable camera's, and he would send them back and we would have them developed. I remember seeing pictures like this one and not being able to believe it was my son!

He ended up going to Iraq three times during the 4 years he was in the Marines. Slowly you hear stories of the things he had seen. Some funny, some some really painful to hear, knowing how difficult it must have been for him. If the stress of deployment was not enough, he really didn't fit in that well. In the end he decided not to re enlist.

Even though my son was shot at, had a convoy he was in attacked with a roadside bomb, even though he had to shoot someone, he actually believes his service was unremarkable! Anyway, on veteran's day, I salute my son, I am so proud of him!

Here is a picture of Drew watching his sister Kate play tennis for special Olympics. He has been home over 2 years now. I can honestly say that he was not quite right until maybe 6 months ago. It was not anything really obvious, nothing where you would say, he's got PTSD. He bombed out off college, couldn't hold down a job, had no direction, seemed restless, had trouble sleeping. I was pretty worried, but slowly he is coming around. He has had the same job for a year, he trained to be an EMT and did really well and now volunteers for a local rescue squad. He is talking about going back to college.


Kim Hambric said...

I'm crying. Thank you Drew. Thanks Chris for sharing this story.

Martys Fiber Musings said...

So glad you shared part of your son with us this Veteran's Day and glad that his life is gradully becoming more like what a young man's life should be. Planning his future is a giant step. I, too, am proud of him and proud he served us.

Chris said...

Thanks Marty. Kim, don't cry or I will! But really, he's OK now. I could not even listen to news reports about Fort Hood. It's just too much.

momtofatdogs said...

Thank you , Drew, for all that you did while you served.


cconz said...

I have alot of mixed feelings for this war. I don't know anyone who's come home, that was'nt like drew. What they must have witnessed. Enough to change a person. I'm glad he's doing better and i'm glad he did not reinlist. Thanks for your bravery and service drew