There was a time when life wasn’t worth living; when I was in Serbia and sniper bullets sizzled past my ears, when Turk soldiers pointed their riffles at me and unsnapped their trigger safety’s, when an untrustworthy acquaintance reported I’d trafficked drugs and Croatian police confiscated my passport for eleven weeks, when I was dragged out of my hotel room at three am by Russian military and thrown into the street in my jockey’s because they were told I was a Taliban. But all that was long ago when I pledged oath to do my best as a Special OPS recruit.
What made life worth living was after I was confronted by a large group of Croatian teenagers. Well, not really confronted, they approached me. After all the degrading conditions I’d been thrown in to by soldiers and police, telling me I was a spy, thief, rapist and terrorist, meeting a new generation of Croatians with westernized ideas refreshed my U. S. patriotism. The group questioned me about American interstate commerce, lifestyles, politics, religion and economic opportunities, and especially jobs and families.
The new generation was concerned more about personal growth and less about government control of social and commercial conditions. They were ecstatic about getting a higher education and less about dropping out of school because they were told to. And, they were equally elated and engaged about having freedom of speech. They were seeking liberty, independence and free-will, all the benefits that Americans have.
The Croatians now have what they dreamed about having, but Croatia is still considered a third-would country, linked to the Euro and failing European economy. At least for me while I was in Croatia I was treated like a human being and not a target, someone to kill because they thought I was a spy, thief, rapist and terrorist. The Croats were kind and sharing, explaining how their social system worked and how much they loved life. They didn’t care about my profession or my missions, they just wanted information that would give them hope and not despair.
Racial profiling because you look Caucasian happens. I was happy to come home to the United States and not get caught up again in the politics of countries whose beliefs that if you look and speak differently you are a terrorist, that I was in their country to do harm and that I should leave before they killed me. Isn’t that what life is all about…all the living a person can enjoy in-between birth and death? Whether you die a violent or natural death at one year old or 100 years old…it’s all about the numbers…it’s all about the enjoyment and what you learn from experiences.