Sunday, January 29, 2006

Mei Mei

For those who don't know, the title for this post is Chinese for "little sister". Like many siblings, my sister and I fought constantly throughout our years growing up. The subject put more than a few gray hairs on my mother's head. I've found that since graduating from high school and leaving home that our relationship improved a great deal virtually overnight, and I have come to love her greatly. Since that time, she and I have both graduated from college and have started careers. That is until about three years ago.

During the spring of 2003, my sister was starting to get restless in her job. She had originally intended to become a doctor, but mediocre MCAT scores did not put her in a position to get into medical school. She and I had always been curious about the military (the Navy in particular) mostly due to Hollywood's portrayal of Naval officers and enlisted personnel as the most consistently favorable of the four branches of service. Long story short, she enlisted in the Navy.

The decision was not without controversy in our family. Our dad being a committed pacifist, did not care for the idea of his youngest going off to join the military. However, 9/11 had softened him to the idea and he gradually came to accept the decision. My wife and I, on the other hand, were both very proud and supportive and still are.

My sister went through basic training and has slowly moved up the ranks as an Arabic translator. Due to a misdiagnosis, she missed a flight school appointment that would have landed her (no pun intended) in Bahrain. She's been doing translation work in a cubicle for the past two years. However, she didn't join the Navy to see the inside of a cubicle wall in the continental US, so when an opportunity came up to head out with the Marines to do translation work, she jumped at the chance.

I'm proud beyond words that my mei mei is going off to defend freedom, liberty, and the enemies of the United States. Yet, I feel uneasy. I'm not the only one with a family member over in the sandbox, and I know there is no guarantee of her safety. I'll pray for her safety and effectiveness over there and hope she comes back home. The fact that she is going with the Marines makes me feel a little better. If anyone can keep her safe over there, the USMC can.

I watched the movie Serenity again a couple of days ago. For the first time I actually got more than just choked up over a movie. River's line "you've always taken care of me Simon. Now its my turn" suddenly had a lot more meaning than it did four months ago. My mei mei is going into harm's way for me and my family. How can I be anything but humbled and proud of her? How can anyone be anything but proud and humbled?

Anti-war protesters had best be on their guard. For me, the war has stopped being an academic exercise and is now far more personal. Attacks (verbal or physical) against our troops will be responded to by me in a harsh and uncaring manner. Your feelings didn't matter much to me before and they mean even less now. Until our forces are home safe, you'd best keep your nonesense to yourself while I'm around. My sister is your moral and intellectual superior in every way possible. You'll denigrate her service over my dead body. If a cross with her name on it shows up at Camp Casey, I make no guarantees about the consequences.

God's speed mei mei. Your service is appreciated by the thinking people of this nation. You're in my prayers and thoughts constantly. Shoot straight and come home safe.

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