I originally posted this commentary as part of a response to an Army bud's photo. I then excerpted this portion and used it as a status update on my Wall. I thought the post merited rescue from the certain doom of Facebook obscurity, so I added it to Facebook Notes on 27 February 2013.
Dream of the Stolen Combat Boots
by Matt Wallace
This page was last modified on 28 February 2013.
Hmm, I dreamed of my combat boots last night even though I haven't worn them in years...
In my dream, I was in a classroom building, perhaps on UNCG, and I secured a pair of my speedlacers in a locker. When I came back, the lock and the boots were both gone. I snarled, "Good thing I'm wearing the other pair, or they would have stolen them too."
Perhaps there is a metaphor in that. Though I am a serial college student, my pre-Army college boy didn't return to UNCG after his enlistment; instead I was a military veteran and often felt myself an alien in my natural environment. Many times I have found myself thinking that I wouldn't trade a single one of my fellow veterans for this classroom full of civilians. I have often sensed an indifference to, a denigration of, and occasionally outright hostility for, my military service. Perhaps the stolen combat boots are emblematic of the academic instinct to impugn the very process that transformed me into a better human being than I ever could have been had I remained a civilian. And perhaps the combat boots on my feet are my internal everlasting soldier which can never be taken away from me.
— James Matthew Wallace, Sergeant, U.S. Army (1985-1993), Honorably Discharged