Britannica defines Valhalla as the hall of slain warriors, where Odin gives those warriors an after-life of bliss. It is depicted as a splendid palace, roofed with sheilds, where the warriors feast on the flesh of a boar slaughered daily and made whole again each evening. Thus they will live until the Ragnarök (Doomsday), when they will march out the 540 doors of the palace to fight at the side of Odin against the giants.
I don’t know much about blogging, nor do I know if anyone will ever read what I have to say, but as I end my decade of service in the United States Army I find that I want to memorialize that time in some way. As a way to cope with the challenges of making the transition from warrior to civilian, I thought I would attempt to write about all the experiences I had while in the Army, as well as the challenges I am facing now entering the civilian world. I found that the 18-year-old kid that I was before service, war, and sacrifice was suffocated and destroyed. And even though I traded things like optimism, curiosity, naivety, for anger, vigilance, and violence, I don’t regret it for one second. It allowed me to survive in those evil places that would destroy good-natured people. I would also be remiss if I didn’t say that all the terrible things I have seen and done in those terrible places taught me how to love harder, care with fervor, and discover exactly what it means to live your life for another. It is my hope that I can keep hold of all the good things that came out of my service, but leave behind the traits that don’t translate well in civilian life. Lay the warrior to rest and let him travel to Valhalla, because for me the battle is over. It has to be over. I have a family who needs the good in me and not the bad that has helped me survive over the years. War does change a man but he doesn’t have to allow the negative parts define him.