You don’t know what you don’t know.
What I don’t know could fill volumes.
I am very much a civilian, with almost no interaction with the military, and so I went into this issue of Pacific magazine with trepidation.
Am I asking dumb questions? Am I missing important questions? Am I even qualified to try to tell these stories?
I don’t know.
What I do know is that military service — their own, or that of a loved one — is a huge part of life for many Pacific University alumni.
I know that there are nearly 22 million veterans in this country, and about 2.5 million of them served in Iraq or Afghanistan. I know that the U.S. presence in Afghanistan since 2001 marks the longest foreign war we have ever fought. And I know that civilians in the United States have been more isolated from this war than from any other in our history.
I know there is a world of experience that too many of us — myself included — do not understand.
My favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle, once wrote, “Stories make us more alive, more human, more courageous, more loving.”
My goal as a storyteller is to immerse myself (and my readers) into the lives of other human beings, to help us understand each other better.
This issue only scratches the surface. There are dozens of stories I haven’t told. (For example, the Pacific community includes many women in military service, too. Also, the focus on the Navy in this issue was purely coincidental. You can read some additional stories online, but there are more to be told.
But we have to start somewhere. L’Engle also wrote, “Part of doing something is listening.”
I am listening. I hope you are, too.
Jenni M. Luckett