Once upon a time there lived a Hawk and a Dove who lived lives of fulfillment on different parts of the East Coast. The Hawk grew up in a family where his grandfather joined the Army and his father served as a Huey mechanic. Even though the dad didn’t talk much about his service, it was a known fact that he had been at war and had served his country honorably.
The Dove lived in a home where peace was king. Her father was born in Italy during World War II. He ducked into ravines as bullets flew overhead. As an adult, he couldn’t enlist due to medical reasons. Her mother was against violence in any way, shape or form so she grew up with no military influence at all. In fact, the closest she got was a grandfather who was in the Knights of Columbus.
The Hawk joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) when he was a teenager because he wanted to increase his chances of being accepted into a military academy. His first choice was, of course, the Air Force Academy since he wanted to fly.
That choice was solidified the summer before Hawk’s senior year. He attended the Air Force Academy’s Summer Seminar where rising seniors are introduced to life at the academy through academics as well as basic training.
The Dove’s teenage years were full of activities that made her happy. She even called herself a reincarnated hippie child. She liked the idea of it but without the drugs.
The Dove considered a military academy for a brief moment. When the realization set in that she would have to serve in the military, that idea was quickly discarded.
Instead, cheer camp and work filled her summers; she knew that college wasn’t going to be cheap. She also tried to strengthen her college application by doing volunteer work.
The Hawk went on to attend USAFA. The Dove attended a liberal university.
The Hawk learned about military history and watched as Desert Storm began. The Dove went to peace marches and demonstrated against destroying the earth.
As fate would have it, the two met and eventually started a long-distance relationship.
In general, they avoided conversations about politics and the military but somewhere along the line with all those late-night phone calls, their relationship grew. The distance seemed too great but neither wanted it to end.
Eventually, after many promises, he put a ring on her finger. The Dove moved to Colorado to be close to her Hawk.
How could these 2 worlds work in close proximity? If they both attended a military academy, we’d say they had a Service Academy Exchange. That’s not exactly what happened but there was some crossing of knowledge.
The Dove went to her Hawk’s school to visit. There she learned more about him and what his goal was. She met other hawks and attended events at the school and fell in love with the military protocol and functions. She realized that everyone has a story and some have found their passion early on.
The Hawk visited the Dove’s campus and reveled in the freedom given to the students. At her work-study in the psychology department, he met people whose focus was on building relationships and self-esteem, not tearing things down. One study had to do with conflict resolution and teaching children how to do that effectively with words. Words are as powerful as actions.
Little by little each took those lessons to heart.
Love conquers all, as they say in fairy tales. The Hawk and Dove were married and grew to be better people.
The Hawk became less hawkish and more tolerant. The Dove learned to value military service and its traditions. She even enjoyed a violent video game every once in a while.
When they had small children, there was no spanking thanks to the Dove and she cried at the war movies the Hawk just had to watch.
Remember, you can live with differences. The key to it all is communication and respect.
You don’t need to give up what is intrinsically you or your beliefs but tolerance is a lesson we all can learn.
I have come to respect the military and what they offer even though I will never be gung ho. And my spouse has learned to listen and respect my liberal ways.
Andy Grammer has a new song out and the opening line is, “My mother was a sunshine soldier.” My daughter says that it reminds her of me. I’d say it’s true and it’s as close as I’ll get to serving and being in uniform.