Veteran’s Day. Today I think of all the members of my family who have served this country, as well as all of my friends and cousins who still defend or recently defended the freedom I get to enjoy every day.
One veteran who still serves and who I especially hold dear is my sister, Lisa. A little under three years younger than I am, my sister and I are pretty much opposites. She’s dark complected and I’m light. She’s fit and I’m…not. She is quick witted and I prefer to edit my responses. She’s a moderate Republican (she claims), and I’m a liberal Democrat.
All of that said, at some point after college we became friends. We weren’t enemies before, but I remember a lot of silly sister fights. They never kept us mad for too long, though, and to this day, it’s hard for us to stay mad with one another for even a few hours.
Lisa joined the Army reserves a few years after high school in the 90s. She joined out of a sense of duty, and she chose Military Police as her career path.
It was during her first deployment after 9/11, when she was serving at Fort Stewart, Georgia, that we started our tradition of daily phone calls. In 2002 or 2003, I can’t remember now, I called her every day as I sat in the traffic escaping from Washington DC to the suburbs of the metro area. I had a 30 minute drive from the subway station to my home on the best of days, so I started spending that time chatting with my sister.
Our calls were pretty mundane. She stopped speeders (not her favorite part of the job) or she trained on practice missions. We talked about our days and how much we were looking forward to her coming home.
A few years later, when she volunteered to deploy to Iraq, the daily chats had to stop, but we were able to instant message one another. She called when she could tell I really needed a chat with my sister, and she sent me pictures and little stories of working with the Iraqi soldiers. We spent a week together when she came home for leave, but it wasn’t a joyous time. Our grandfather was in the hospital, so our time was spent trying to get him off a ventilator that he never made it off of. That deployment seemed to go by relatively quickly, and we were soon back to our drive-home sister talks.
Her current deployment has been a little harder on her and on me, but she’ll usually send me a quick “hello” when she’s able. The time seems to drag, and I probably spend too much time worrying about her. She’s smart, and she’s brave, and the soldiers she’s training every day are lucky to get to serve with her.
I hope this is the last Veterans Day I have to spend without my little sister. She was exhausted today, so we only exchanged a few words. The good thing is that when you’ve spent 34 years with somebody, you don’t need a lot of words to say I love you.
Happy Veterans Day to my little sister, Sergeant First Class Lisa Morgan — my hero.*** This personal blog is comprised solely of the opinions, views, projects, and travels of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She is lucky enough to have loving family and friends whom she drags along with her on her adventures and whom she puts to work on her little farm. She uses this blog to help promote living in the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.**