Tuesday, July 24, 2012

1991: 40 Thoughts in 40 Days

Rodney King, Magic Johnson and HIV, Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, "Dallas" ended after 13 years, and Jeffrey Dahmer?  Well, who knew what he was thinking!  But these were the news makers of 1991.

     The biggest news of this year, however, was probably the Gulf War and specifically Operation Desert Storm that broke out immediately after the beginning of the year.  A long-coming problem, it came to a head when Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing oil from an oil field that ran beneath both countries.  During the summer of 1990, Iraq's military forces had moved in, occupying Kuwait.  The United Nations called for military action should Hussein not withdraw his forces by January 15, 1991.  He didn't....and the United States followed through.  
     Under the direction of American General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, an air campaign was initiated to disable Iraq's communications, air defenses, and early warning radar installations.  And we watched it all as news sources broadcast the air attack live on television.  
This was all very personal to me because by this time,  I had a step-brother who was a Marine (whom I refer to simply as my brother).  This was all very cool when he was stationed in Japan and we would write to one another...but not so cool when it came down to the fact that he was being sent to be a part of Desert Storm.

I remember this time as being pretty crazy.  Mom and my step-dad were worried obviously, my "sister-in-law" and nephew had moved in with us while my brother was overseas.  This left things...new and interesting to say the least.  Our days were spent listening to the news, anytime there was news, regarding the war.  Reality of the seriousness hit when my brother had made a video tape for my step-dad..."just in case"

Thankfully, Desert Storm didn't last long, and in April we received word that my brother was on his way home to the states.  The next morning, my mom, step-dad, my sister-in-law, nephew, sister, and my step-dad's ex-wife and her husband all got our things together and headed off to North Carolina from Ohio to greet him when my brother when he came in at Camp Lejeune.  The only problem...we didn't know exactly when he would be arriving.  So we checked into a hotel and we waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.

For the record, hanging around a military port when you're 18 years old was fun! A lot of fun! Marines....Marines...and oh, look!  More Marines!  (Okay I also went horseback riding for the first-time while I was down there, and managed to NOT get thrown off my horse!)  Finally...after a number of days had passed, we got the "official" word that his company was getting into the base, and the excitement level bumped up another notch.  We were there when his bus came in (although I couldn't see him - it was at night, and it was dark), and then we headed off to wait in what I remember to be similar to a gymnasium.

This was one of the more amazing experiences I have ever been lucky enough to have been a part of.  Seeing the soldiers coming in, standing in formation, then seeing them "dismissed" and ALL of the family members finding their loved ones - somebody's brother, daddy, or son - in our case, he was all three.  He is my brother, my step-dad's son, and his little boy's daddy....and he was home, safe and sound, and back with his family.


C.

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