We watched the movie Top Gun Maverick on 9/11. Perhaps for some that doesn’t seem like much and that’s okay.
For those of you who care to stay with me, here the story goes.
There’s just something about a man in khakis and I’m not talking J Crew fashion. No. Not at all.
For my fellow military brothers and sisters, more specifically Navy, “Khaki’s” are the assigned uniform to the upper brass in the US Navy. In other words, officers and enlisted personnel at the Chief Petty Officer rank and above.
As the former wife of a US Navy enlisted sailor, the day he advanced to Chief and crossed to Khaki’s is not one I’ll ever forget. Like any career it was a time which he/we had worked hard at helping him achieve. Sacrificing in areas of our life which demonstrated not just commitment but dedication to serving the United States Navy in a true leadership way.
For an enlisted family, it represents a number of things which bring on a sense of pride, as well as accomplishment. It’s not as simple as an education track which brings on the transition from the “cracker jacks” as my kids’ father used to call his blues to the khaki’s which present you as a leader.
As a couple, we gave 20 years of our life to his service in the United States Navy. A decision we both made as a young couple when he reached the six-year mark of service. It was a decision which we weighed significantly, pros and cons, goods and bads. This was all pre-9/11, I might add, so the appreciation of the men and women in this country for those in uniform was still lacking significantly. Flags flown on the daily, was not much the norm in our early days as a military family.
Quite the contrary.
While there always seemed to be a crossover brotherhood with service members on the home front (police, fire and EMT’s), that was pretty much it. Often times I would recognize this was a result of the fact many who chose these fields of service, once served their country as well. In other words, they “got” us. Then of course there were always the elders (our parents’ generation) which had nothing but the utmost respect for our decision to serve this country.
As the niece of five uncles who also served this country, I had nothing but respect for the choice of this sailor who I met in college and would later become my husband as well as father to my two children.
Even as I type this, with 11 years of separation by way of divorce between us, I never falter from thanking him for his service on a number of occasions.
So back to the movie.
Watching Top Gun Maverick this past Sunday with family was a second viewing for myself, as well as my guy of the past five years. He and I had seen it first in the theater. A man with the heart of a solider/a true patriot who hasn’t served, he absolutely loves the original so seeing this was something we’d looked forward to for quite some time.
As we watched on 9/11, I found myself becoming emotional just as I had in the theater. Many will share similar sentiments, as the movie was so well done, with beautiful nods to the original flick as well as its characters.
What I realized Sunday, however, is the emotion for me was a little bit more than that; it was equally a pride. A pride in knowing what my children’s father (as well as myself) gave up or postponed so that he could serve this country. A pride in understanding the characters in a movie which depicts the risks and sacrifices of many in real life.
In short, a pride for knowing what it truly means to serve.
I like many of you have a 9/11 story. My daughter asked me this just last week, after talking about it in school. Mine was a bit different than some as I knew from initial viewing of the towers falling that it was no accident and with a spouse overseas it would be life changing for us both.
Yet at the same time, while it is now a previous chapter of this big novel known as “life,” I remain proud of each and every person who understands that bond.
So be it khaki’s, cammies, cracker jacks or something else thank you to each man, woman and family for your service and commitment to this country. 9/11 may have made flag flying more popular, but your sacrifice should never go unnoticed. Godspeed.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at email@example.com or by calling 209-847-3021.