Service Above Self

I am member of Rotary International In Gig Harbor. The motto is “ Service Above Self ”. Being a new Rotarian I have given this much thought.

Servive Above Self: Rotary International - Rotary club in Gig Harbor, Wa

I’m also the mother of a Soldier. He served for 16 years in the British Army. He was in Iraq and Afghanistan three times. Thankfully, he came back alive with no visible injuries.

I asked little about what he had seen or heard while he was “over there”. When I did, like a good son, he simply said ‘Let’s say you know enough’. He was still protecting me.

 

As time passed we began to notice he wasn’t “Our Kev”.

He was a pain in the ass but he was ours and we made allowances. He spoke louder, avoided some conversations. He was fidgety and could not sit in one place for long. He always seemed to be looking off in the distance when you spoke to him, It was as if he wasn’t really interested in you or what you were saying. Often confrontational, he would just hammer a point till you were sick of it. He jumped at sudden, loud noises.

His life seemed to be falling apart. After conversations with his brother and sisters, I eventually asked him if he may have PTSD. Like a good Soldier he said “No”.

After 3 years, He finally gave in. He admitted at times simply carrying on was too much for him.

It all began to make sense. He had been injured in the line of duty. It was not obvious. Mental illness rarely is. He is one of the lucky ones. He has his family to support him. He will always have a home, food, clothing and family and access to metal healthcare. Once again he is fighting a battle, but this time it’s self above service and being the type of man he is, he feels guilty for doing so.

 

I am PROUD that he is my Son.

This has made me think deep into the lives of other Veterans… especially those who are not as lucky as “Our Kev”

TV and video games have dulled us to war. We have no conception of the sights, sounds and smells of war. We have no concept of what soldiers face every day. We can only imagine their reality and I’m sure our imagination never comes close. Our war is accompanied by air conditioning, cold drinks, and the smell of fresh warm delivered pizza.

This year, when you are letting off your fireworks on a warm July 4th evening, think about those who are transported back to a war zone. Homeless, ill, cold and yes, scared. Hiding in some doorway just trying to survive AGAIN. There are more out there than you can imagine.

They have given more than what shows in the physical sense. The affects will be long term and scary.

We have a lot to say thank you for to men and women like ‘Our Kev”. They really have given “Service Above Self”. It’s time the rest of us do the same.

 

Think before you act. Consider giving back.

Annie

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