Catherine posted a beautiful picture the other day, capturing the joy on a loved oneâ€™s face when her brother returned home from the war. It brought tears to my eyes (photographers are great artists too)â€”not the least because it hit home for me, when at another time I would only be a sympathetic observer.
I had always been proud and appreciative of all our military men and women, for their dedication and sacrifice, doing what we civilians would not or could not do. And I donâ€™t think they are compensated enough. But what they actually did seemed so far away from me, the stuff of news reports and stories far removed from my life. I had this vague, romanticized vision of active-duty military: the training, the battles, the heartbreaking tales of heroism. And to illustrate my ignorant disconnect from that life, I found the announcement of the black beret becoming standard wear for the Army, well, disappointing. I couldnâ€™t take a beret seriously. It didnâ€™t "look tough."
But as I express in the title of this post, Iâ€™ll never make fun of that beret again, even if they make it orange with purple polka-dots (please donâ€™t)â€”because what it represents is so meaningful. Namely the Green Beret: What those men go through to get that Green Beret, and what they do once theyâ€™ve earned it, is hugely significant indeed.
Someone very close to me is now going through training with Special Forces, specializing in medicine. (Ok: All you in the military, bear with me if my terminology is â€œoff.â€ Iâ€™m still learning. But feel free to share your insights and experiences in the comment section.)
So I now hear on a daily basis many of the details of that training and intense study. (And the interesting anecdotesâ€”and pranks that, apparently, are repeated among medics through the yearsâ€”Iâ€™ll spare you any examples . . . ) And at times, it makes me feel very smallâ€”not in a shameful way, just amazed at all that one goes through to get that Green Beret.