One Word Inspiration: Regret
“Two roads diverged in a wood..and I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference” Robert Frost
The assignment is one word inspiration. I chose regret. I am going to put a different spin on the word. Do I have regrets? … lots of them but I refuse to dwell on something that cannot be changed
My story is about something I will not regret.
Vietnam was ramping up. I was in nursing school. I learned about the Army Student Nurse program where you could stay in school ,get the same pay as a private first class and then upon graduation and passing RN exam,you promised the Army two years of service. You were then commissioned as a second lieutenant. I was all in. My parents were not and I needed their permission. I had led a sheltered life and lived in a small town. Not many people left. They were worried about their youngest going out into the rapidly changing world. It was the 60’s and troubled times were upon us. I convinced them to sign the papers and I was off. I was leaving that small town behind and headed for the great adventure. First stop: Ft Sam Houston Second stop: Ft Polk Louisiana.(most of soldiers that were headed to Vietnam were trained at Ft Polk where the weather was hot and humid) After Ft Polk ,that was it and family thought I would be coming home. But it didn’t happen. I extended my time and ended up in Vicenza Italy for two years.
How could I ever regret my decision? Oh the places I went and the people I met.(apologies to Dr Seuss) My eyes were opened as I learned to deal with so many different people. Some were like me but many were not. They didn’t look like me or think like me. But I learned about acceptance and inclusion from them. They taught me there is room for all in this world.
I met my Texas husband in Italy. He was also serving in the military.We are both proud veterans.I left the Army Nurse Corps as a Captain.
When they dedicated the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Washington,D.C.(it is right in front of Arlington National Cemetery) I was there for the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony five planes flew overhead. They were all piloted by women. It was awesome and years later I still remember the emotion. My name and a short bio is in the database of the Memorial.
Recently my name was added to a Veteran’s plaque in my hometown in Massachusetts.
I think Mom and Dad were proud of the decision their daughter made. They came to know that the road less traveled has made all the difference this small town girl’s life.