Thursday, January 19, 2006

Stockholm Syndrome

There was a phenomenon that I read about when soldiers were due to rotate out of Vietnam that for some reason they couldn't bring themselves to get on the airplane.  I imagine it to be something similar to Stockholm Syndrome where hostages begin to develop symathy for their captors, or what was described as "institutionalization" in The Shawshank Redemption" where paroled prisoners had become so familiar with life in prison that they couldn't adjust to living as a free person.


Whatever you call it, I can certainly relate to it now.  With the end of our rotation here just beyond our fingertips, I seem to be looking at this country through a different prism seeing and appreciating its beauty in ways I never thought possible before.  It is a stark, harsh beauty where the richness lies in it's simplicity rather than its complexity or texture, but I have found that I can now appreciate it for what it is rather than despise it for what it's not. 


The mountains surrouding Bagram are now completely covered with snow and their appearance is more rugged than even the most isolated high country of my native Colorado.  The sunrises are magnificent quickly trancending the spectrum from midnight and slate blues through crimsons and deep oranges before the western mountain tops are finally illuminated with golden rays of sun.


While I will miss these sunrises along with the vivid starry nights that precede them and I will miss the simplicity of the life that the Afghan people lead with their methodical, unassuming ways; I have not succumbed the Stockholm Syndrome or "Institutionalization".  The list of things that I will not miss about this place is far longer and the list of people and things that I have missed so much for the past year is longer still.


I can relate more with Morgan Freeman's character in Shawshank as he rides the bus towards Mexico.  I am so excited that I can barely hold a thought in my head.


So while I will still appreciate the Afghan night sky, It brings me more joy to know that I will be home before the moon is full again.



Beth* A. said...

Doing the 'dance of joy' for you! You've had to put with home as the memory and Afghanistan as the reality this past year the other way around will be infinitely better long term. Thank you for your service, FF, and soon to be Welcome Home!!!

Beth* A. said...

Oops, Somehow I missed the comma between the word 'year' and 'the'.

LP said...

Hey congrats!!! So very happy for you! I've read your blog for a while now, mainly because my boyfriend was in Afghanistan for a very short tour and even though you are in Kandahar (?) your words still brought me comfort. Wish you the best!!!
(you said you are from CO, a bit over a year ago I was sicker than a dog in Telluride! it just made me think of it!)
Thank you so much for your service and dedication!

Don said...

When I left Viet Nam in Jan of 72 there was no hint of any reluctance to get on the plane. We collectivly held our breath till we knew the wheels had left the ground and then all 250 or so of us cheered.
Welcome back to the USA and thanks for your service.

devildog6771 said...

Firepower, I am just so happy for you. Thank you for that beautiful description of Afghanistan. I could almost see what you were talking about.

Listen, don't let your excitement make you and your buddies careless. I want you to come home safely with your pinky intact, lol. Just drop a line when you can.We understand.

Most importantly, please let us know you got safely home after you get there. But after you get time to setle in, lol. Just so we know you're home safely.

Thank you for your service. Thank you for all you and your wife and family have sacrificd.