we enjoy telling our story and reading everyone else's. Why not go over there and take a look, AFTER you have read mine, of course.
|UN shoulder flash|
|Two berets, a shoulder flash, a rank insignia and a UN helmet cover|
More military stuff this month. This time from my youngest son. Both my boys joined the army. They are very close in age, just 13 months between them so it happened that the weekend we travelled to Richmond in Yorkshire for Eldest Son's Pass Off Parade was the weekend that Youngest son travelled to the now notorious Blackdown Barracks in Aldershot to begin his basic training. ES went on to spend time with the bomb squad and to be with the American 1st infantry (as liaison) in the first Gulf War. YS was in Germany while ES was in the gulf and the job for YS was to watch the casualty lists as they came in and then pull the files for his CO to write the letters to families. He worked four hours on and four hours off and told me several years later that he was dreading seeing his brother's name and number on his computer. Hows that for stress eh?
Then he was posted to the Royal Welch Fusileers - oh he was a clerk, or a blanket stacker as that branch of the force is so eloquently called by the rest of the army. He arrived with them and in Quick succession he spent six months in Northern Ireland, six months in Canada on training exercises and then he went to Kosovo. During the time he was there several of his RWF mates were kidnapped and held for a week or more. An IED blew up the vehicle in front of the one YS was travelling in and a couple of the boys were killed and more injured and he was under daily attack with mortars and guns. Then he came home.
His marriage broke up acrimoniously and his children were kept away from him, and after a pretty traumatic time he finally let slip that he was having flashbacks - from there it was easy for the "army experts" to diagnose PTSD.
He had done 12 years by this time so he left the army and gradually rebuilt his life. He gave me these things because he couldn't bear to look at them but didn't want them to be lost because "When I see my kids again I want them to know the real me." I have them safe in my box so that my grandchildren can see them when they are ready. They have found their Dad again and they are building new relationships, a delicate and slow process but one that gladdens my heart. These things are reminders of very dark days but I am very lucky because both my sons came back home and they both now have settled happy lives and that is more precious than gold (or inkjet printer ink).
Take a click over to Sian's Place and see what other precious things are talked about on this Storytelling Sunday.