We All Bleed Red
We All Bleed Red
How My Time In The U.S. Military Taught Me That We’re More Alike Than We Imagine
By Wayne Applewhite
We all tend to fear the unknown at varying levels.
When we were young, stories we heard about people, animals, monsters, the dark, and what might be lurking in the closet at night as we attempt to go to sleep all tend to put visions and scary thoughts inside our heads. This is normal as a kid, but these thoughts persist for far too long as we continue to mature.
This fear of the unknown can even make us demonize another human being without ever getting to know them.
How The Military Busted My Ingrained Myths About People Of All Walks Of Life
The best possible education I received about people was my stint in the United States Military. Serving with people I had only heard or read about, from all walks of life, was my living experiment.
What did I learn? I learned that we all bleed red. I learned that at some point in time, no matter how “big and bad” someone portrayed themselves to be, we all cry real tears. I learned that we all sweat; we all blush; we all get sunburned; we all tire and require sleep; we all fear something; and the exciting thing – when the chips are down, we could and did, rely on each other.
In the military, we busted many myths about people, culture and values, through talking with, working with and learning from each other. We learned a great deal about each other.
We learned about each other’s holidays.
We broke bread together.
We exchanged language lessons with each other.
We laughed together (and sometimes at each other). We cried together. We failed together and we succeeded together. We learned to trust each other.
In foreign countries when we saw each other it was a comfort, even though we might not always know each other’s name, but because of the uniforms we shared, we knew we had a friend.
Coming Back to America
Coming back to America from time-to-time was sometimes very disappointing for me.
Some of those times I was told by Americans (most of them my friends of long ago), that I should not consider this person my friend or that person over there my friend because they were different from me, from us.
I would attempt to introduce my ‘new’ friends to some of these Americans and suggest to them that maybe, just maybe their thinking was skewed by old wives tales and folklore. Most of them disagreed. I suggested if they put down their facades around them and got to know my ‘new’ friends, they might think differently.
Today, not much has changed. There is still fear. There is still the unknown. There is still resistance. There is still a divide. Let’s bridge those fissures and take action to start anew. Let’s start today!
Bio: To those reading this blog, let me introduce myself: My name is Wayne. I bleed. I cry. I tire. I work. I love. I blush. I sunburn. I believe in God. I love German Chocolate Cake. How about you, who might you be?