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Surrounded By Soldiers

Story ID:2136
Written by:Nancy J. Kopp (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Manhattan KS USA
Year:2007
Person:US Army Soldiers
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Surrounded by Soldiers

Ken and I went to our country club for dinner this evening. I noticed a lot of young couples walking from the parking lot to the club but didn’t think too much about it. We climbed the steps at the back of the club, stopped to admire the shimmering water in the pool which is to open in a few days, then climbed another short flight of steps to the back door of the lounge area.

We walked into a party! The lounge was filled with young men and women having a good time. Despite the civilian clothes they wore, it was obvious that they were military. We live just a few miles east of the Ft Riley Army Post. We made our way to a table by a window, away from the happy throng, ordered our drinks and settled back for a relaxing evening.

I noticed several couples had brought babies and toddlers with them. One daddy ended up on hands and knees looking for his little boy under a long-skirted buffet table. Giggles were heard from both father and son as Daddy picked up the little boy and hugged him close.

A man looking a bit older than most of the crowd made his way to our table, introduced himself and began a conversation with us. He was recently retired from the army and had settled in our community because it was close to Ft Riley where he’d landed a civilian job. His 11 year old twins could walk to the Catholic School, walk to the library, the park, and the mall. He’d been here two years and wants to stay forever.

We asked what the occasion was for the group around us. “It’s an Attack Battalion,
he told us. “They’re here to get some recognition awards for things done in Iraq. Most of them will be heading back there in June.”

I scanned the room at the young men and women who were enjoying this evening, enjoying being together, reveling in the safety of the facility. My heart told me to go around the room and thank each and every one of them for service to our country, but my head told me to sit still and keep them in my prayers.

My attention was brought back to the gentleman who had joined us when he began to talk about the poor job the media has done in reporting the war. “There are so many good things going on in Iraq that the American public is never allowed to know about,” he told us. He went on to tell us that General Petraeus is known to him personally, and he feels they could have selected no one better than he to oversee the troops in Iraq.

It was time to go to our table in the dining room, so we shook hands with this retired military man, thanked him for all the military does for us, and left feeling as though we’d been granted a special privilege. We’d had an opportunity to witness part of our fine fighting force and the wives who love and support them. May God bless them in their mission.