Lots of units in the military have all different types of traditions when it comes to saying goodbye to people. Because this happens so often in the military, it is an important part of building unity and cohesiveness.
In our squadron, the tradition is to have a patch hanging when people leave. It is an opportunity for anyone who wants to tell funny or inspiring stories about the person who is leaving, and then they take their name patch off their uniform and hang it on the wall where it will hang forever.
It is a great time to laugh and think about all of the great times you had together as a squadron family. As someone that does not drink alcohol the stories about me were very take but greatly appreciated.
It really sucks that I am having to leave a year earlier than planned, but now that it is here I am ready for the next chapter. As I hung my patch today it was really weird to be the one standing up there saying goodbye.
I had some amazing experiences here, and met even more incredible people that influenced me in so many ways. My life has changed more in these last two years than in any other two years before now, and I am so grateful for these changes.
It is definitely bitter sweet to be saying goodbye, but I will forever be grateful for the memories.
I realize this is usually something people absolutely dread. I even know a few people that refuse to say those words. While those situations where these words are applicable are never fun, there is something to be grateful for.
The way I see it, if you dread saying goodbye, that means you care about the person. It means you made a connection and you valued their presence.
It may mean that they were a great worker or simply a great friend, but whatever the case may be, their leaving is going to leave a void in your life.
I have had times where I really wasn’t too sad about leaving, and as I look back that is actually a much sadder situation. To have spent any significant amount of time somewhere and not be sad about leaving means that there were no great connections.
People are the best part of life so what a shame if we missed out on an opportunity to connect with people in a new area.
As a military member saying goodbye is a regular occurrence, though it doesn’t make it any easier. But what it does is make you grateful for all of the amazing people you get to meet. That’s why tonight I am grateful for saying goodbye.
What are you grateful for?
Some of the greatest blessings or rewards in life come very unexpectedly, and this is no more true than when it comes to unexpected friends, which is what I am grateful for today.
When we first got to Japan we were told not to expect to ever go to a Japanese person’s house. Apparently, it is just not common in their culture to invite lots of people over. That was a little disappointing to me as I love learning about new cultures.
However, due to a string of events that I had never imagined would occur, we became pretty good friends with a family here who would regularly come.and stay with us, come to birthday parties, and join us for other significant events.
To be totally forthcoming this family is Korean, but they are permanent residents here, so close enough. Either way, we had the opportunity to visit their home today and it was simply wonderful.
It was no ground breaking discovery as we have stayed at numerous AirBnB’s here is Japan so we knew what a Japanese residence looked like. What was wonderful was taking some time to acknowledge the value of a dear friend that we never expected to make.
Food was shared, gifts were exchanged, and hugs were given upon our departure. There is a decent chance we will never see this family again due to our impending return to the US, but it was simply wonderful to have one last visit where they welcomed us into their home.
Here’s hoping we don’t lose touch, like so often happens after big.lofe changes, but even if it does, I know I will always be grateful for the impact these unexpected friends had on me and my family.