Today, my son reminded me of a brief conversation he and I had a little over a week ago around his bed time. When I was tucking him in with the usual good night hug and kiss, he asked me what I was looking at, through my scope, in a picture on our wall. At the time, I told him I would talk to him about it later; well, later was today for him.
My wife hung up a picture of me that was taken in early 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq in which I was looking through my rifle scope at suspected enemy positions as the rest of the squad moved through the area. We were not actively engaged with hostile forces at the time, so the picture is just neat and happened to have been taken at the right time by someone. The picture has a simple wooden frame with my bronze star pinned to it and then my broken KIA bracelet on top of it.
My son asked me to lift him up so he could see what I was doing in the picture. When I lifted him up, he saw the Bronze Star with its “V” device pinned to it and asked me “Daddy, what’s that red badge for?” I was shocked that he knew what a badge was, let alone semi-proper use of the word and then I was astonished that he knew that there was some significant reason that I had it.
I just told him that I got it for doing a good job, which was true, because there is no way I am going to get into the nitty gritty of what actually transpired that warm April day. I realize that there will come a day that he will want to know more, but not today. It is a tough thing to describe to a five year old, let alone anyone. The stone-cold facts may not be the best way of telling him either.
In the end, he knows where I was on the globe (Thanks to the Leap Frog Explorer globe) and that I was there for a year and it was before he was born. This should be interesting one day.