Thursday, July 12, 2007

If You're Reading This (I'm already home)

On the way to the grocery store today, I flipped radio stations to the other local country radio station (I normally listen to one of the local versions of Froggy), Y108. The song that was playing was unfamiliar to me, but I identified it almost immediately as Tim McGraw. Since I generally like Tim McGraw's music, I sat in the parking lot to hear the end of the song - and was in tears long before the last note.

I've talked before about my lack of close, personal contact with the military as I was growing up. My exposure was limited to knowing that a couple of my uncles had been active war-time military at some point long before I was born. They didn't talk about it, and I didn't ask. It wasn't until I got into online blogging that I first had friends that were either active military service members or were spouses of active service members.

I met an Army wife on Xanga who was stationed in Germany with her 2 young children while her husband was deployed in Iraq. I started talking to an Army specialist who was being deployed to Iraq - and who has since returned home, but is facing another deployment soon. I met D, a good friend in the Air Force who is stationed up in Idaho - and who patiently listens to me babble on about my feelings about the military, and tries to explain the other side of things for me. And I met 2 other very dear friends via FFXI - M., a staff sergeant, and S, his wife. When one of M's officers was killed in the line of duty over a year ago, I drove to St. Louis, MO to be there with S for the funeral. (See To Show My Support)

Since then, a man who is the closest thing I have ever had to a brother has joined the Air Force, and I am so proud of him for making that choice. It was really the best thing for his future and his goals, and he followed it even though it was so very different from any of his previous experience.

With all these connections to various aspects of military service in my life now, songs like the one I heard today hit very close to home for me. "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw is a story told from the point of view of a soldier who died while serving overseas, about the things he wishes he could have done, and the things he wishes for the future of his family.

One line talks about how he won't get to see the birth of his daughter, and what he hopes for her. That line is the one that broke the dam for me - M and S are trying to start their family, and I'm terrified that S is going to get pregnant, and then find out that M is being deployed again. These people are very important to me, and the idea of this kind of thing happening to them is just something I have a hard time handling. I knew that this was the risk that military familes took, but it has never felt so real, so close before.

There is a tribute version of this song done by Brien Travis, that is in a different style than Tim McGraw's version - you can hear it on his MySpace page, Brien Travis Music.

If You're Reading This (I'm already home)

If you're reading this
My momma is sitting there
Looks like I only got a one way ticket over here
I sure wish I could give you one more kiss
War was just a game we played when we were kids
Well I'm laying down my gun
I'm hanging up my boots
I'm up here with God
And we're both watching over you

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul
Is where my momma always prayed where it would go.
If you're reading this I'm already home.

If you're reading this
Half way around the world
I won't be there to see the birth of our little girl
I hope she looks like you
I hope she fights like me
Stand up for the innocent and the weak
I'm laying down my gun
Hanging up my boots
Tell dad I don't regret that id follow in his shoes

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul is where my momma always prayed where it would go
If you're reading this, I'm already home

If you're reading this, there is going to come a day
You move on and find someone else and that?s okay
Just remember this
I'm in a better place
Soldiers live in peace and angels sing amazing grace

So lay me down
In that open field out on the edge of town
And know my soul is where my momma prayed where that it would go
If you're reading this
If you're reading this
I'm already home

Crossposted to my personal journal.