My older brother, Garret, is currently at Basic Training for the United States Air Force. While he is gone, he isn't allowed to use his phone, which means the only way of communicating is through letters.
In this day and age, it's extremely weird to be writing my brother letters. Normally I can just pick up my phone and send him a text.
I think that they take away the phones, not only so they aren't distracted, but also because it presents a challenge. Most of the men and women at Basic are fresh out of high school. They've never been away from home.
The biggest challenge of him being away is he can't talk to us whenever he likes. Messages aren't sent in seconds back and forth. It takes at least 5 days for communication back and forth. And that's only one time.
We have gotten so used to technology, we can't remember what it was like to not have a phone. My generation, that is.
Back during the Vietnam War, people were waiting months to get a letter from their loved one. Can you imagine? Months.
I can hardly go a week without talking to my closest friends and family. When my brother left, the only reason why I cried was because I knew I wasn't able to contact him whenever I wanted.
If you know you can contact someone whenever you want, it doesn't matter that you don't talk to them everyday. My biggest fear is something bad is going to happen, and he's not going to know right away. Or something bad happens to him, and I can't tell him I love him.
Technology has blessed us all with instant communication, but it has also hindered us. It makes us more afraid to let go. We can't be seen in public without our phones. It becomes our crutch.
I can't even fathom how difficult it must have been for families to communicate via telegram across OCEANS. We have planes now, so it makes delivering things faster. But weeks on a ship?
I miss my brother. The letters my family and I write him will never be able to put into words how much. And one day he'll read this article. So, hey, Garret. I miss you. I love you. And I'm so proud of you.