This last weekend, I had houseguests. Friends came out from Ohio and we drove up to Fort Hood and picked up their niece and brought her back for the weekend. I have been in hospitals, universities, even prisons, but other than going to the Air Force Museum in Dayton, I’ve never been on an army base. I don’t know what I expected, but I didn’t expect a rather decent sized town with fast food restaurants. It’s a weird town because its all painted in tans and browns–a rather drab architectural experience. And there are tanks and helicopters and troop transports used as sort of giant lawn decorations at major intersections.
Rachel gave us a limited tour of where she lived and of the PX. (I suspect we are not allowed on a lot of the base.) The PX was rather like a big box store. Clothes, kitchenwares, a little Yankee Candle shop, Easter candy. You can tell the guys shopping who are soldiers because they all have short hair. But it was difficult to tell the wives from the women who are soldiers because women don’t get their hair cut.
I asked Rachel if the people in her company, and more especially, she and her friends, talk about Iraq. She said that they don’t talk about it the way we do. They don’t talk about the politics of it, not even the ones who have been there. She said, ‘We talk about it like you would if you were in a job and they sent you somewhere else. We talk about how big the PX is where we might be stationed.”
In 2006, my kid’s best friend was stationed in Iraq, and I started the adopt a marine program. If you contacted me, I sent you the name and address of someone in his company and asked you to send a box of fun stuff. It’s very possible that this year I will be asking you to Adopt an Army Soldier. If so, I will post here.