That’s it. Today was my last day on active duty in the United States Army. Today is also the 20 year anniversary of the day I signed my enlistment contract, and twenty years and a day after Kristin agreed that we should marry.
I think this is where and when I am suppose to wax-nostalgic and blubber on about these twenty years, but today is only a milestone. Things aren’t stopping. There’s still shit to do.
We still have great kids to raise. My amazing wife is still by my side, and we have many more adventures ahead of us. Yes, the Army is breaking up with us, yes, my aches and pains are far more pronounced than they use to be, but they are what they are. It’s not like we’re going to slow down.
I am thankful for these years, for this chance to serve. I will always look back fondly on every day in which I put on the uniform, laced up the boots, and did my part in service to the republic. But I knew, 20 years ago, that this day would come. And it has. So be it.
I am incredibly thankful for the love and support of the great woman who has been with me through all of this, and the great kids we are together raising (they are turning into fine humans). I am thankful for the support we have had from our families and friends, not just while we have lived this Army live but as we have done it almost entirely overseas, and done it while I’ve spent a lot of time away from Kristin and the kids on maneuvers or on deployments.
And I am thankful for the men and women (and canines) with whom I have served. 1995-2015 was a period dominated by America military operations abroad, from Eastern Europe to Southwest and Central Asia, and while history is going to be the final judge of those administration decision, I know that’s it’s been the men and women and four-legged creatures serving on the battlefield with me that have been it worthwhile.
I may not be ready to retire to the front porch and a comfy chair every day, so I can spend my afternoons smoking a fat blunt and eating Doritos, but I am excited to not get up at oh dark thirty. Portland lies ahead of us, and getting our kids through their college years. So is more time on the couch, watching TV while snuggling under a quilt or five, with no prospects of Staff Duty calling, the President needing me, or some balloon going up and my needing to rush for my A Bag.
Somebody else has got it. I can quit my post; I have been properly relieved.