Dog tags are a part of the military's identification system. The dog tags we all know today came from the first World War. The tags help our wounded and injured to be identified. In college, remember reading a story about WWI. This soldier described what it was like to go through the trenches and make sure each of his deceased friends had one tag on them and that he had the other before they could be buried. I remember him talking about how as he accumulated them, he just became like a robot. I remember his words very well, his story has never left my memory. He put one one on the solider and one in his bag that had to be turned in to his command. He called it tagging and bagging. He said it never got easier, it was just his job and someone had to do it. He felt it was his honor to serve his fellow citizen solider that way. Our current day military still relies on these tags for help to our soldiers get home to their families.
Yesterday Chaz and I began going through giant storage boxes from his deployment. The Army has packed up all of Chaz's belongings and Fed Ex'd to me last Spring. I cannot forget watching that woman unload box after box and me thinking and then saying "What the heck?" Then came the best part. The driver came up to me and said,"Um yeah, if you want these closer to your home you need to come help me move them. I don't have time to" Yes a complaint was filed with Fed Ex. One of my friends didn't wait for me to say yes they just did it. I got a call from someone apologizing. I remember saying, "Ma'am I am fine, but you need to brief your drivers that you just don't know what you are delivering. Therefore customer service should always be top priority." My friends all came over that weekend and helped me organize the garage and put the 12 boxes away. I had not touched them until yesterday. Chaz wanted to see if he had something in them. What's so funny is now I could not tell you what we were looking for, but I can't shake out of my head what we found.
Since the boxes were so deep, I had to reach into the boxes for Chaz and then I would show him what I discovered. There was this envelope and inside it was a plastic sleeve with his dog tags in them. When that hit my hand, I froze. All the sudden I thought, there's two of them. Then came the tears. I realized what could have been didn't happen, I have both tags here in my hand. Chaz touched my arm and said, "Are you OK?" and I said, "Yes, I just don't know why these are making me cry." Chaz joked and said, "Well there are many reasons." He was so right. Then I realized some of those reasons.
Was I crying because I was so happy to have both tags in my hand? Was I crying because these were with him the day he was hurt? Was I crying because the contents of these boxes and especially those tags represent the career that Chaz had that is now gone? Was I crying because I miss my old life? Was I crying because I knew how much his soldiers and our families were hurt by Chaz's accident? Was I crying because the consequences of war hurt so deeply and we can't always see how deep those wounds are? Or was it all of the above?!
Regardless we had to have a moment. Thank God for big sunglasses, because just minutes after my little moment, our neighbor walked up and I was able to play it all off. I was actually very thankful for the distraction. But now I sit here with those tags again. I have both. They sit here in my hand. Those tags are a reminder of what could have been. Those tags are another reminder of how blessed we are. Who would have ever thought that two little pieces of metal could be such a blessing?