If you added up all of the folks that served across the branches over the last 30 or 40 years, and then added the number of dependants (that’d be you and me..and our civvy parent(s)), while the number would be rather large, in reality we’re a small, tight-knit demographic. Case in point was something that happened this past Sunday.
My mother and I drove to the Arsenal to attend Sunday service at the Chapel. We like going there, because it keeps both of us “connected” to others that have lived (or are living) much the same values and lifestyle that we did. As we walked through the parking lot, I noticed a brand new 2012 Toyota Camry in the lot (ok…not MY first choice in cars…I lean towards European, small and sporty if I’m going to oogle something!), and as my mother is contemplating her final car purchase, I’ve been trying to steer her to something (Admittedly, a new C-Class Mercedes, but she is too modest to consider it, even though she can easily afford it) nicer than her 2003 Corolla.
The new owners saw me taking a close look, and came back to the car and asked me what I thought of it. As this was more for my mother’s benefit than mine, I did tell him that they had done a really nice job with the new design. Mom even chimed in how much she liked her 1993 Camry much better than her 2003 Corolla. Anyway…point of the story is coming up, I promise!
As we continued talking, my mother noticed a strong hint of German in the wife’s voice, so she began to speak to her in German (mom was born and raised German…naturalized when she married my father). Turns out that she (the wife) was born in a small town on the outskirts of Mannheim (Viernheim), very close to where we lived! He was retired Army and worked in Air Defense, which is where I find myself supporting the Army these days. So…here we were, at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama…two old German ladies, a retired ADA soldier and a DA engineer that works Air Defense!
They had been stationed in Mannheim, as well as Kaiserslautern, so the connections just kept on coming! It was a rather neat experience, and one that just drove home the fact that we (all of us associated with the military) really are “family!”