Post 34: The Hardest Part

The hardest part of the army isn’t the crawling. It isn’t carrying people up hills with a gas mask on your face or jumping into thorn bushes. Its sunday morning. Its watching tour groups start their day, children running around, parents drinking their coffee. Its saying goodbye to her, confident in the knowledge that no matter how much you try to explain what your going through, words cannot adequately describe your weekly routine; the ups and the downs, the long cold nights and the blazing hot days. Its people taking a leisurely bike ride. And then there’s you. Dressed in your aleph uniform, gun on your shoulder, assured in the knowledge that the place you’re going is a place that nobody you pass along the way would change places with you for an hour let alone a week. No matter how much they hate their jobs. A place where the normal boundaries of possible and impossible, humane and inhumane are blurred. During basic training, the misery is compounded by the knowledge that you’ll be forced to take your bags on and off the bus a million times until the whole team does it in the allotted 45 seconds, among other nasty reminders that the weekend had come to an end. The hardest part is flipping that switch from civilian to soldier. From watching the sunset at “La Mer” on Tel Aviv beach to watching the sunset in the desert holding the push-up position on a thorn bush. By Monday you’ve been in the army for 24 hours, and have all ready flipped that switch, but on that Sunday morning train ride, Saturday night for your friends back home, you live in the middle of two worlds. You look out the window of the train, every tree bringing you closer to that place you love and hate at the same time. Where your living your dream, fighting for your beliefs, but also fighting to stay awake, to stay motivated, and to keep your eyes focused on the horizon, to the end of training when you’ll finally start doing what you came here to do.

Your friends complain. About their hours at work. About an upcoming test. About a cranky boss. And you try to empathize; you really do. Its not that its not hard for them. Its hard in ways you probably can’t even imagine, because you’ve never worked as a teacher or a research assistant or as an investment banker. But its not the same. They can quit and tell friends and family it wasn’t the right fit, and move on to a new job. I don’t have that luxury. I signed a contract with the military, and I am bound to the army and to the State of Israel, without an option to quit. For my friends, their time is their own. Their lives are their own. In the army, you belong to something greater than yourself, but you none-the-less belong to something. You signed up for this. You knew what you were in for (or so you thought). But it doesn’t make sunday morning easier.

May 1st, 2010

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9 Responses to “Post 34: The Hardest Part”

  1. Mom Says:

    Dear Corey,
    This and your previous post are 2 of the most beautiful pieces I have ever read. I know it’s getting harder in many ways to keep your eyes on the prize and I’m sorry that you are even a little frustrated or disheartened. Please know that even though we are many miles and hours away, we think about you all the time – especially when you are on that train back to base on Sunday morning. We miss you, we believe in you, we admire you and most of all, we love you – to infinity and beyond –
    XXX

  2. Who Dares Wins Says:

    I am an American and ex veteran of it’s forces. I have followed your path with interest. For those who have been the tip of the spear, the trials are long and failure will happen. It is how you respond to those failures, whether intentional or not, that is what you are judged on. I wish you luck on your journey my new friend.

  3. Who Dares Wins Says:

    The only easy day is yesterday.

  4. Aunt Amy Says:

    Corey,
    I too was extremely moved by your last two posts and am wishing you strength (although, really? can your arms get any bigger??) and easier moments ahead. We think of you and talk about you every day and each one of us is inspired in our own small daily tasks by your giant accomplishments. We love you and miss you more than we can say.

    A, L, R and M xxx

  5. Aunt Rho & Uncle Vic Says:

    Dearest Corey, You are the great MAN we admire and love very much. These 2 posts are really the very best. Nanny would have said “a box of Kleenex” after reading them…stay safe. We think about you always with love, xxxooo

  6. Dylan Says:

    So proud of you brother! Keep at it and keep inspiring everyone that knows you.

    • Daniel Says:

      Hi do you know how I can mail your brother
      He inspired me I wanna talk to him
      It’s very important, I don’t know anyone who I can ask for information about matkal and idf

  7. Daniel Says:

    Hi
    I need to talk to you privately on mail
    I am 17 and I wanna start preparing for army I will go in age of 19
    Please it’s very important for me to talk to someone who can anserw my questions

  8. John Jr. Bahiwag Says:

    I wish there’s a way for me to join Israeli forces…

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