Small Steps

Hello, Friends.

I had the opportunity to do something last night that I have often wanted to do…but I could never bring myself to do it. I bought a complete stranger in a Marine Corp Dress Blues his dinner.

I know this sounds a little weird on the surface, why on earth would anyone consider THAT a personal triumph? However, I think my fellow survivors would understand my issue. Every time I see someone in a “uniform” my first thought is…Is he one of THEM? Is he a rapist?

As you all know, I work in a VA Hospital, and I know deep down that some of the people I take care of are perpetrators. There is no way they can’t be! If there were 26,000 rapes in the military last year…someone had to do the raping. I’m not talking about their behavior – because I have only had one or two issues in 6 1/2 years. The majority of my patients are some of the best people in the world. However, statistically speaking, some of these people are victims and some of them are perpetrators.

I have a special place in my heart for Marines. My daddy is a Marine and one of the few men I actually trust is also a Marine. That isn’t to shine a positive light on all Marines – because we know that isn’t true – but I was Army…so I guess that is where my head goes. He was just a young thing, couldn’t have been more than 12 years old…wearing SGT Stripes. The recruiting office was two doors down so I assume he was grabbing a quick bite to eat. I’m sure he was older than 12 – but I really wanted to ask him if his Mother knew where he was 🙂 Call it a mother’s heart – because I have two boys old enough to wear a uniform (and I hope they never will!)

I debated all through my dinner – then I finally just decided…I will buy his dinner…anonymously! I will believe he is a good kid and I will just think about my daddy! I left a note for him, when the server returned his money that said, “Semper Fi Marine! Thank you! Dinner tonight is on the US Army.” I did see him receive his money back and I saw him read the note and smile. It felt good.

We tried to make it out the door and we didn’t. He caught us. He thanked my husband…who didn’t know anything about it…then apologized profusely when I told him I had done it…that I am a Veteran. He was a nice kid.

Later in the evening I called my daddy and told him what I had done – that I had bought a Marine his dinner. My daddy laughed and said, “That is funny, a couple of weeks ago I had a table of Reservists buy my dinner. They saw my Marine Corp jacket and paid my bill.”

I guess what comes around goes around. I would love to thank those men who bought my daddy his dinner! He is so proud of being a Veteran – so proud of his little girl being a Veteran.

I guess that the morale of this story is that I am learning to tell myself that not everyone in uniform is a rapist. I should already know that – because I served with thousands of men that never did anything to hurt me. Over 16 years – I think that is a pretty safe number – but only a handful were violent.

So I am trying to reestablish faith in the “male uniformed species”




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