Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This is Why I Started a Blog

Occasionally I'll have a moment with one of my grandparents and I will think "I need to write this down." Because despite my interest and my desire to remember every story I am told, I forget quickly. This year for Veteran's Day, Carter's school did a music program and invited family and veterans to attend. I was so grateful that Norm took the time to come and enjoy the program. The kids did a great job doing readings and singing patriotic songs. On the way home, Norm started telling me about his time in Korea which was a rare treat. And now, I am writing it down so I don't forget.
This is Norm in "the walking pride of Uncle Sam, the army." He was drafted to go to Korea when he was 18 years old and was there for almost two years. He was in the 7th division. He says he doesn't remember a lot of what happened during that time and that there is probably a reason for that. I suppose that is how you move on and begin to function again. There were guys that he was friends with but nobody he keeps in contact with. He says you get close to the other guys in your division because you depend on them to get home. . . but not too close because you might lose them. The guys who didn't get drafted were considered the "lucky ones" but Norm says he would not trade a million dollars for what he learned in Korea. He learned that war doesn't fix anything. He learned a lot about survival. Not just how to thrive in the cold in a fox hole but how to survive every day life. There is so much more to life than "spilled milk and smeared peanut butter". The things we consider trials and issues are so minute and really don't matter in the long run. As bad as it may seem, there is nothing worse than war.
These buildings were their nice accommodations. I can't imagine living here for any length of time but it beats the fox holes he also spent time in. We were discussing that there are similarities between his experience and those of the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan (the fighting, the dust, etc). The major difference?. . . Norm was truly cut off from home. There were no skype cameras, emails, video chats etc. He was on his own. He said it was hard to come home after so long (another difference, it seems few soldiers now spend that much time over there without coming home). It was strange to him to see green grass and other small things we take for granted. When he came home, his whole world was upside down but being in Korea was harder.

Toward the end of his time in Korea, he saw a posting about a position for a librarian for the new division library (I guess they started a library to help out the guys). So Norm tells them that he went to University of Washington and had studied literature and that he would love the job. Apparently they never checked his credentials and never found out he was lying, so he got the job. He got to finish his last few months at a desk with an assistant, had a shower every day (instead of every 3-4 weeks) and slept in the same bed every night. That is the Norm I know. Resourceful, quick on his feet, dedicated regardless of the job.

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing the cool pictures and the excellent reminders of what truly is important in life.