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Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll 11/11

Special Veteran’s Day Edition!  Readers – did you or a close friend or family member serve in the military?  Share your best military related stories in the comments.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

One reply on “Lunchtime Poll 11/11”

My second cousin, Jeff, was a Marine. He was a very troubled kid, grew up with only his Mom, while his dad worked back home in Taiwan. ROTC in high school saved his life and soul. He served in Iraq, came home with the first wave of soldiers. Like many he had a very difficult time readjusting to life since returning in May of 2003. That September my mother and I stayed with him and his family. Jeff had moved back with his parents until he could get settled with life.I had only met Jeff once before, did not know him, only knew of him through family stories. I found a very quiet, dark young man who hid in the shadows, lived on vampire hours, drank too much beer. His parents hoped that our visit would unlock the key to his alien ways. Jeff refused to talk about his experiences, could not deal with anyone beyond his new girlfriend, hated that people called him ‘hero’. He and I bonded over movies. We stayed up and discussed The Professional, the Godfather movies, and Goodfellas. Then somehow he began to talk about guns, which led to talk about the war. Despite being a female cousin who has 12 years older Jeff finally unlocked that dark side of himself. He showed me his uniform, journal entries, photos, and his box of “goodies”–assorted trinkets he had collected during his raids, all government sanctioned booty. His most detailed stories were the raid on Tikrit. He spoke with evil pride about how they all shat in Saddam’s toilets and grabbed plates and cutlery from the pantry. I swear I will never handle such fine dinner ware again.After that night Jeff joined us for family dinner, hung out with us during daytime. He even took me clubbing and introduced me to his girlfriend. He did share a little about why and how he couldn’t talk to others, how he was troubled. I’ll keep that part private between me and him.Jeff is a grown man with a kid of his own, working full time as a mail carrier. He is still a troubled guy in some ways, but that has to do with his upbringing not his war experiences. I still keep his marine photo in my kitchen. And we have a copy of his group photo that was published in the LA Times when he first came home.

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