A Guest Post, by Carl Frommer
Reunion No.1: I recently returned from a reunion with my old Army unit, the 2-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Proud paratroopers we were and will forever remain, Fort Bragg welcomed us home 33 years after our now mostly forgotten deployment to the Caribbean island nation of Grenada; a mission code named Operation Urgent Fury.
It was October of 1983, I was a young Infantry Sergeant turned 21 years of age just a few weeks into our deployment. Grenada was the first and last military operation since WWII that U.S. soldiers were overwhelmingly welcomed by all but an insignificant few of its beautiful citizens as liberators from an unpopular murderous communist coup that overthrew their democratically elected government with the help of Cuban and Russian advisers. Hundreds of American citizens who attended a popular medical school on the island were also at peril.
Good times at our reunion bound by our brotherhood forged by all that we had experienced together. I have no sufficient words to convey what it all meant to us to reunite. It was a beautiful larger than life event. It was a deeply meaningful thing to us all. From laughs to tears we shared, it was all good, both healing and up lifting. It was unequivocally a necessary pilgrimage for this old soldier to make. Our former Battalion Commander, Col. Keith M. Nightingale, wrote in an essay about the bond of brotherhood between soldiers. He wrote, “Love is not too strong a word.” Not too strong a word by a long-shot, I say. It is a sort of love distinctly its own as is the nature of love between lovers, family, and friends.
Thanksgiving One and Two: One of my fondest memories as a soldier was Thanksgiving Day, Grenada, November 1983. Our unit was spread throughout the small Caribbean island nation. The Grenadians wanted to express their own thanks by hosting individual Thanksgiving dinners to the troops dispatched throughout the island. It was a beautiful thing to experience; the grace and expressions of gratitude from so many of its grateful citizens having their democracy and freedom restored. The Grenadians were intrigued and loved the notion of this most American of tradition when we gather for a traditional meal and give thanks for all our blessings. So grateful the people were and so lovely they found our tradition of Thanksgiving; the following year the Grenadians declared October 25th as Grenada’s own Thanksgiving Day marking the anniversary their freedom and democracy was restored. It is a national holiday that stands to this day. A humbling honor to any America that might take a moment to ponder it.
Reunion No. 2: It was something special that my Army reunion to NC afforded me the opportunity to reunite with my dear friends Felicia and Glenn. It had been way too long (perhaps 10 years or so) and it was ever sweet for the soul to reconnect with two very special people I so much love and admire. My heart and soul was abundantly filled with the bonds of love and camaraderie that is the foundation of our enduring special friendship. It was as if no time had passed from minute one.
It was a special thing my lovely wife Traci finally got to meet Felicia and Glenn. Traci quickly grew fond of both Felicia and Glenn and formed a genuine bond of friendship in the two days we connected; once just before and then just after my Army reunion. We actually cancelled other plans to make time for that second day together and I’m so very glad we did.
It was tremendously up lifting. I have not shared this with Felicia until now, but in many way our friendship is akin to my soldier’s bonds of brotherhood. There are reasons this is so, perhaps to be told another time.
My reunion with Felicia and Glenn caused me to become more aware how particularly rare and special our enduring friendship is. Mutually nurturing and unconditional.
Be it built on bonds of brotherhood or friendship it is ever so sweet to be with people you love; to both receive and to see your love received with grace and gratitude.
A gorgeous week it was for the heart and soul of this lucky fellow.