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A Moment Of…

October 12, 2011

I have come to the conclusion that the blogging schedule I had set for myself, while fun and catchy, ultimately is not compatible with the work, hobbies, and husband I now have. Yay for having a life!

So I’m going to go back to posting sporadically, although I will try to keep up with recipes and fun food photos. ^_^

Now on to the blogging!

Today I went to my first FRG meeting with C’s Battery. I know I’ve mentioned them before, but FRG means Family Readiness Group and it’s kind of like a PTO for soldiers, families, and command. I was actually pretty excited to go, because I was hoping I would finally get some answers about days off (known to Army-folk as DONSA’s… Day of No Scheduled Activities). Because C, being the person actually affected by such things, naturally has no knowledge of them more than a few days ahead of time. Thus goes the chain of command!

Then I got a little nervous when I walked into a room filled with approximately 200 people… and then even more so when I realized that some of those folks were the same people present in Nashville when C popped the question. Thankfully no one recognized us 😀

Captain M did a great job of leading the meeting in an efficient and friendly manner; he got us in, gave us the info we needed, and got us out in half an hour. C assured me that such promptness is reserved for meetings that involve civilians– especially spouses. To which I said, “Fine by me!”

One of the things we were informed of is Molly Pitcher Day, coming up next month. It’s a chance for the spouses to get out in the field and experience a “Day In The Life” of their Soldier. We get to fire guns, sling-load something large (like a Humvee) on to a helicopter, and get a taste of life on a mission… minus the cold sleeping conditions and MRE’s, of course. I have to admit, I was tickled by the name– Molly Pitcher is a (possibly mythical) figure in American History who is credited as being the first woman to fight in a battle after her husband was taken out. Prior to this action she had been bringing pitchers of water to the men (and the overheated cannons), thus the provenance of the name. How much of her story is true and how much is an amalgamation of several historical figures is still a topic of debate, but I for one find it a fitting title for such activities. When Captain M announced that we would be firing weapons C turned to me and said, “Don’t shoot me, ok?” I laughed and said, “Don’t piss me off between now and then!”

After the meeting ended we stopped by the Commissary to pick up a few groceries. On the way out, a bugle suddenly started to sound and all around us people stopped and faced towards the music. It took me a few steps to realize that C had stopped too, and was facing the music at attention. I took my cue and turned toward the sound of the bugle, and waited.

It took a few bars for me to realize that all motion in the parking lot had ceased. Cars on the road had stopped driving, patrons with full carts stood and waited, the very air seemed to still as the music played on, sweet and solemn. I had just turned my eyes skyward to watch the first streaks of sunset when–

BOOM!

A cannon, I suppose, but it scared the hell out of me and a few car alarms in the Commissary parking lot. A second song played, and then C kept walking towards the car.

“What was that?” I asked him.

” To The Flag,” he said in regards to the first bugle call, “then Retreat.”

“Sounded good with the car alarms,” I noted. He smirked at me. “Does everyone always stop for that?”

He nodded. “For Reveille, too, and the National Anthem if and when they play it. Some installations play it midday.”

As we got in the car to go home, I pondered what had just happened. Such a simple, little moment, and yet surely something unique to a Military life. The last time I heard a bugle played in public was Memorial Day 1999, when I stood beside the bridge at the Oyster River in Durham and fought back tears as two buglers played a call and response of Taps.

I thought of the moment of stillness– the first I’d had all day. I was amazed that such stillness could exist in a place where hundreds of thousands of people are going about their daily business. A stillness so complete it felt like even the leaves on the trees were holding their breath as the colors of our nation were retired from another day.

I have so much to learn about this life I have taken on.

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