I have been feeling very uninspired lately. I have not felt like writing or speaking my truth because it seems like there is no point. Feeling disheartened, discouraged, disappointed, and unpatriotic is a terrible mindset to be stuck in.
Thankfully this changed on Thursday, August 11th, 2022, when I accompanied my sister to her friend’s book signing.
It was a privilege and honor meeting a true HERO, Major Tom Schueman. . And Added bonus, he is from the Southside of Chicago!
Major Tom Schueman, A Marist High School, Loyola and Georgetown graduate raised by a single “hippie, cop mom” has authored his first book with Zak, an Interpreter from Afghanistan.
This one- hour interview, had me choked up-then-laughing numerous times about Tom’s experience growing up and what he went through serving our country.
Laughing when Major Tom describes his Grandma having a crush on Tom Cruise and A Few Good Men was on all the time at his house growing up.
Major Tom describes the values his mother instilled in him, the childhood friends he made, and how both combined helped build the foundation of the amazing man he has become today.
Tom’s core values of resilience, adversity, integrity, persistence, and always being faithful led Major Tom, to not giving up in any aspect of his life.
These core values provided him with the stamina to persevere in his deployment in Afghanistan, watching his military brothers become wounded or even killed and in helping his friend Zak and his family escape from the Taliban to the United States.
Zak wanted to improve the quality of life in Afghanistan and chose to take a life-threatening job as an interpreter to the United States military.
Zak’s expertise and cultural knowledge saved lives of countless lives of US soldiers.
Zak is not a trained UNITED STATES soldier, yet he faced the same challenges as US troops and over time, he became one of them and served our country without even being a United States Citizen.
Tom so eloquently describes how some individuals can have American values and “BE American” even if they are not born here.
This story of adversity, loyalty, friendship and always being faithful provides readers with the empowering journey of how Major Tom assisted in getting Zak and his family to the United States after after two previously failed attempts.
If you have been feeling uninspired, discouraged, disheartened, disappointed and unpatriotic, read this book. 🇺🇸 ❤️ 💙 🤍
Have you ever been through something extremely painful or traumatic and thought “I can’t handle this” or “there is no way I am going to make it?”
Perhaps you are dragging yourself through the day, barely keeping your head afloat, and spend the entire day dreaming about the moment your head hits the pillow. Praying sleep will be an escape from the nightmare you are living through.
You somehow get past this pain a little bit each day. Before you know it, you notice that you got through one minute without thinking about it. Eventually, you went one hour or one day without crying. As you keep pushing through the pain, the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, the months turn into years.
You may even find yourself able to mention this event or loss without getting choked up. Hopefully, you are mindful enough to recognize this feat and reflect on it. It could be “I said their name today without tearing up” or “Someone asked me about it and I was able to respond.” 🤯
Eventually, you realize that you somehow survived a traumatic event and just blew your own damn mind.
Peace shows up around the time you have embraced the person you are now. Acceptance of this means that you are now a changed person forever, you cannot change back.
Change, Loss, Pain, and trauma of any kind is difficult.
Obviously some individuals have been through more than others.
As human beings, we have to provide empathy and compassion not only to each other, but to ourselves. This pressure to “get back to normal” after a loss or a traumatic event-only prolongs the process.
We also have to remember that we are not here to judge or compare each other’s pain. Example: “who endured a worse situation.” Or “who deserves special treatment”. Trauma and Loss are not grounds for a competition.
However, there are a precious few who deserve an automatic level of honor, respect, empathy, compassion and an immediate win in the unspoken competition of “who is entitled to special treatment.”
These precious few are not celebrities or professional sports players.
This is a group of individuals who have had to go through MANY of those painful, traumatic events over and over and that most likely took a lifetime to process. Everyday, these “regular” people probably said “I can’t do this. I can’t handle this. How am I going to get through this?”
They did it anyway, for us.
These courageous men & women provided us with an example of the sheer resilience that human beings possess. These resilient members of our society have sacrificed years of their life for our freedom and to serve our country…
Yesterday, my patriotic side got fired up after I listened to my favorite podcast, Smartless, with guest Tom Hanks.
(This podcast is a comical escape hosted by Sean Hayes, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. What I enjoy the most about this podcast, is the real, open-ended conversations and the quick-wit of the hosts/guests is captivating. Basically, they all rip on each other whenever they have the opportunity.)
Anyways, Tom Hanks was asked about his role in Saving Private Ryan and what was the source of his passion and fascination with being a “war guy”. Tom disclosed that during his “formative years every caregiver & adult would make reference to the war as this dividing line” that everyone collectively went through. “Another aspect is that a big chunk of their lives, they had no idea where they were going to be in the next week, month, six months. This was a time loaded with all sorts of problems that we are still dealing with.”
“I’m a schoolteacher. I teach English composition… in this little town called Adley, Pennsylvania. The last eleven years, I’ve been at Thomas Alva Edison High School. I was a coach of the baseball team in the springtime. Back home, I tell people what I do for a living and they think well, now that figures. But over here, it’s a big, a big mystery. So, I guess I’ve changed some. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve changed so much my wife is even going to recognize me, whenever it is that I get back to her. And how I’ll ever be able to tell her about days like today. Ah, Ryan. I don’t know anything about Ryan. I don’t care. The man means nothing to me. It’s just a name. But if… You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that’s my mission.
Captain Miller, Tom Hanks: Saving Private Ryan
Will Arnett then points out to Tom Hanks that “What I love about this movie and is that your character is a school teacher, he is just a regular guy NOT a guy born to be a military officer. He had to go to the war, because that is what he had to do. This movie provides reverence for the bravery of these people who did extraordinary things. Captain Miller wasan example of one of these regular guys called to do extraordinary things.”
I wrote this In honor of Veteran’s Day, 11/11/21, and “a regular guy that did extraordinary things.” He is the only person that I am privileged to know personally that served in a war. Except he served in a different war and a different time. A time when people were not proud of their veterans. When he arrived home after serving our country, he was treated cathartically. He was humiliated and shamed; he was told to take his uniform off.
Thankfully, on October 27, 2021, he received vindication and a moment of the honor he deserves, through a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring WWII, Korean War & Vietnam War veterans by flying them, all expense-paid, to DC for a day of honor, thanks and dedication.
On this momental Veteran’s day, 11/11/21 and in honor of all the “regular guys called to do extraordinary things” please donate to this brilliant organization to do our part in honoring those who served our country.