Monday, October 19, 2009

War Stories

As most of my friends and family know i was in the Air Force for four years. During that time September 11Th happened, and changed alot in our world. I was in a class instructing CPR when the first plane hit. Someone came into the class and said "We are being attacked". We emptied the classroom and went into the lounge where a big screen t.v. showed the second plane crashing into the towers. I remember that feeling of helplessness as people jumped from the windows.

The feeling of pried never burned hotter than it did following the days after the attacks. I was given orders to ship off to Kuwait as part of "Operation Enduring Freedom", and I remember being grateful that I was given a chance to do my part for all those people we lost. The flight was long, and the thought of leaving family and friends behind bothered me. How was Roy handling the day to day with Were Anthony and Nikko driving Deb crazy! Would the girl next door still be next door when I came home? Thoughts raced in and out during that long flight as i contemplated my life.

The approach to Kuwait International Airport was like something out of a horror movie. It was dark and for miles you could still see the oil fields burning from "Desert Storm". I remember getting off the plane and thinking "shit are these fuckers going to be shooting at us as we get off the plane?". All the excitement was for not, as it was a pretty boring ride back to the base with nothing but desert for miles. The base consisted of modular boxes for offices, and tents for dorms. We did have the luxury of a trailer with working showers. The poor marines stationed with us had to use a jury rigged shower outside, so we were happy for that.

Since this is a "War Story", and I'm sure any one who is still reading is wondering when I get to the guns, violence, and death part. Well to be honest there wasn't much of it. My closest encounter was a day trip to Camp Doha. There were four of us in a GMC Suburban waiting at a light. A black Mercedes with smoked out windows pulled up, and lowered its window. The driver motioned with a gun in his hand to pull over. I floored the gas pedal and made a run for the gate at Camp Doha. We called ahead and had the guards ready for our arrival. As we made the last turn towards the gate the Mercedes kept going straight. They must have seen the fifty cals at the gate waiting for them. That was it though the closest Ive ever been to combat!

I have some friends in the Army, and I've heard there stories. I can say with one hundred percent conviction that I'm glad i don't have their stories to tell. I respect the men and women who serve our country, and thank them for seeing and doing things no man or woman should have to in their entire life. I hope and pray that someday those memories will be erased from their heads. Next time you see a veteran don't just thank him or her for making our home free. Thank them for taking their pure mind and exposing it to hell, so that we can listen to our Ipods, play our Playstations, and watch football on Monday nights.

I did make it back home in one piece. As for my Family well Roy is still doing his thing with, and doing it well at that. Deb has still got her hands full with Anthony and Nikko. As for the girl next door, well she moved away! Two blocks away that is. I ended up marrying that girl. It's funny how you graduate high school, and you are so scared to leave because of all you have at home. What we don't realize is that its home, and no matter what goes on it will always be there waiting for us. With that in mind I'm going to end this blog with a poem about home.
As sure as a rain drop hitting the ground
No matter where I go you can always be found
Whether I'm gone for a day or a couple of weeks
When I want comfort it is you I seek
My heart is warmed with a sniff of your smell
The vision of you on the horizon is the opposite of hell
When I see that welcome to Massachusetts sign I could almost cry
Because no matter how far I travel with you is where my heart resides
So no matter how much this cold world can fill me with disdain
A morning sunrise on your beach just washes away the pain
I know as I travel state to state that I'm not alone
Because waiting for me with open arms is my one and only home
Written By
Gilbert Ricci