A Nostalgic Letter

A Nostalgic Letter

By Dialogo
March 09, 2015




One year, 52 weeks, 365 days…It has been exactly one year since I last wore my uniform. I no longer do my hair in a bun or paint my nails off-white.

It has been a year since I last formed ranks under the sun. I no longer need to ignore the weather when it starts to rain.

On the bright side, it has been a year since I took the TAF (Physical Training Test). I only run when I want to. But, sadly, it has also been a year since I took the TAT (Firearms Aptitude Test), and I really miss that.

For a year now, I have looked longingly at the PDC (Duque de Caxias Palace, in Rio de Janeiro) when I drive by it. This happens every day, Monday to Friday, in the morning and in the evening.

It has been a year since I rode in an [Army] vehicle, but I continue to use (a lot) of military jargon.

It has been a year since I participated in operations, in social-civic actions, or in military ceremonies.

It has been a year since I have heard the sound of a bass drum… the one that told us to step forward with our right foot when we were marching in a parade.

It has been a year since I saluted someone, or since I have been called “ma’am.” It was so strange to be called “ma’am” at the age of 24…

I was but a girl when I joined the Brazilian Army. I didn’t know anything about the military life. I didn’t know I would wear a uniform. At first, I hated it. Later, I became passionate about it. And that passion turned into love, the kind that never dies.

For the last year, I have only been brave enough to walk through the PDC one time. And my tears flowed freely with every friend I ran into in the halls.

This might be difficult for a civilian to understand. But being in the military is much more than having a job. It means having a family, a second home, life lessons and lifelong friendships. It means shared values, shared dangers, missions, and traditions. It means many more companions, mutual understanding, and camaraderie. It means understanding the true meaning of “service.” It means conquering your limits and being very proud of yourself for it. You can only understand if you’ve been through it. In fact, you can only understand it if you’ve lived
it.

A year ago, I was preparing myself for one of the most symbolic days of my life: the day I left the barracks behind. Even though, since 2006, I knew that this day was coming, and even though I had tried to prepare myself for it, I admit I was not ready. The pain I felt was like saying farewell to a great love. And that’s what I was doing.

When I answer the phone, I still want to say, “Press Advisor’s Office for the Eastern Military Command.” I still think about the stories about my weekend that I’m going to tell my friends. I still remember and celebrate the Army’s official holidays. I still talk about the experiences I had, as if they just happened last week. I still remember the monthly formations and I relive in my memory, with tears in my eyes, the last time I fell into formation on Flag Day 2013. As incredible as it may seem – military members will understand – my family remembers and relives many things with me.

Ah! How nostalgic I feel… Nostalgia for camaraderie. Nostalgia for the missions. Nostalgia for the goose bumps I would get when standing in formation and listening to the Song of the Expeditionary. Nostalgia for my uniform. Nostalgia for being Lieutenant Sheila. Not because of the privileges of rank; as anyone who knows me can tell you, that never mattered to me. No, what I miss is the pride in being an Officer of the Brazilian Army. I remain an Officer of our glorious EchoBravo [Brazilian Army], but now I am part of the ready and strong reserves. Nostalgia...

Time has flown by so fast, and I give thanks to God EVERY DAY for how He has manifested His superabundant grace in my life. Thanks for the new challenges that He has given me, for the new things I’ve learned, for the daily opportunities and achievements. I am very happy for the peerless opportunity that I have now in my life. I am very proud to be part of a very expressive project for my country. I pray that God will bless me and enable me to contribute and always give my best at my job.

In the end, feelings of nostalgia are something that we cannot control. Sometimes, we don’t even know how to explain it directly. But, in my opinion, nostalgia is confirmation that something we experienced in life was worthwhile. Joining the Army was very worthwhile. It was much more than just a job; it was a school of life from which – today – I carry with me the best lessons.

To the Brazilian Army: I salute you. You have my eternal esteem, respect, admiration and love.

Brazil, always first in my heart!



One year, 52 weeks, 365 days…It has been exactly one year since I last wore my uniform. I no longer do my hair in a bun or paint my nails off-white.

It has been a year since I last formed ranks under the sun. I no longer need to ignore the weather when it starts to rain.

On the bright side, it has been a year since I took the TAF (Physical Training Test). I only run when I want to. But, sadly, it has also been a year since I took the TAT (Firearms Aptitude Test), and I really miss that.

For a year now, I have looked longingly at the PDC (Duque de Caxias Palace, in Rio de Janeiro) when I drive by it. This happens every day, Monday to Friday, in the morning and in the evening.

It has been a year since I rode in an [Army] vehicle, but I continue to use (a lot) of military jargon.

It has been a year since I participated in operations, in social-civic actions, or in military ceremonies.

It has been a year since I have heard the sound of a bass drum… the one that told us to step forward with our right foot when we were marching in a parade.

It has been a year since I saluted someone, or since I have been called “ma’am.” It was so strange to be called “ma’am” at the age of 24…

I was but a girl when I joined the Brazilian Army. I didn’t know anything about the military life. I didn’t know I would wear a uniform. At first, I hated it. Later, I became passionate about it. And that passion turned into love, the kind that never dies.

For the last year, I have only been brave enough to walk through the PDC one time. And my tears flowed freely with every friend I ran into in the halls.

This might be difficult for a civilian to understand. But being in the military is much more than having a job. It means having a family, a second home, life lessons and lifelong friendships. It means shared values, shared dangers, missions, and traditions. It means many more companions, mutual understanding, and camaraderie. It means understanding the true meaning of “service.” It means conquering your limits and being very proud of yourself for it. You can only understand if you’ve been through it. In fact, you can only understand it if you’ve lived
it.

A year ago, I was preparing myself for one of the most symbolic days of my life: the day I left the barracks behind. Even though, since 2006, I knew that this day was coming, and even though I had tried to prepare myself for it, I admit I was not ready. The pain I felt was like saying farewell to a great love. And that’s what I was doing.

When I answer the phone, I still want to say, “Press Advisor’s Office for the Eastern Military Command.” I still think about the stories about my weekend that I’m going to tell my friends. I still remember and celebrate the Army’s official holidays. I still talk about the experiences I had, as if they just happened last week. I still remember the monthly formations and I relive in my memory, with tears in my eyes, the last time I fell into formation on Flag Day 2013. As incredible as it may seem – military members will understand – my family remembers and relives many things with me.

Ah! How nostalgic I feel… Nostalgia for camaraderie. Nostalgia for the missions. Nostalgia for the goose bumps I would get when standing in formation and listening to the Song of the Expeditionary. Nostalgia for my uniform. Nostalgia for being Lieutenant Sheila. Not because of the privileges of rank; as anyone who knows me can tell you, that never mattered to me. No, what I miss is the pride in being an Officer of the Brazilian Army. I remain an Officer of our glorious EchoBravo [Brazilian Army], but now I am part of the ready and strong reserves. Nostalgia...

Time has flown by so fast, and I give thanks to God EVERY DAY for how He has manifested His superabundant grace in my life. Thanks for the new challenges that He has given me, for the new things I’ve learned, for the daily opportunities and achievements. I am very happy for the peerless opportunity that I have now in my life. I am very proud to be part of a very expressive project for my country. I pray that God will bless me and enable me to contribute and always give my best at my job.

In the end, feelings of nostalgia are something that we cannot control. Sometimes, we don’t even know how to explain it directly. But, in my opinion, nostalgia is confirmation that something we experienced in life was worthwhile. Joining the Army was very worthwhile. It was much more than just a job; it was a school of life from which – today – I carry with me the best lessons.

To the Brazilian Army: I salute you. You have my eternal esteem, respect, admiration and love.

Brazil, always first in my heart!
It really is the truth, but few understand. The only way to know is by living it. My friend, you show such courage. May God bless you and I wish you all the best in this new challenge in your life. I loved it and it reminds me of my own time serving in the military too. Once again, my congratulations and keep moving forward. A big hug❄️ The Brazilian Army is like a family. If all young people had the experience to know how to protect the country, certainly our representatives would not be corrupt or perform corrupt actions. It would be a better country. Brazil first and foremost. Love for the homeland. I was in the Brazilian Army and after graduation, a corporal. I was an apprentice primarily from the point of view of discipline and patriotism. Today, I am 79 years old, still proud and miss everything that your brilliant letter describes. Congratulations! I love the Brazilian Army, which is why I have been involved with the Federal Military Justice system since 1973. An example of patriotism that we are proud of. Moving testimony, but what happened to Lieutenant Sheila? h I have tears in my eyes.
Oh, how I miss the days in the 1/5 RCMEC, where I learned so much and strengthened my CHARACTER. Fine words of recognition and patriotism Why the farewell? Firstly, I love the institution. This letter gave me goose bumps. Congratulations to you Brazilian women. I was military, in the Brazilian Marine Corps for more than 10 years. A great learning experience in my life. I'm not military. I don't have relatives, very few friends as close as they may be, but I was very touched when reading the story. How beautiful and what a shame to have to let go of such a great love. Always giving praise, this demonstrates well your character, determination and your love. Congratulations for your well put words. The lieutenant was temporary. You have a certain time to serve, and when this ends, you have to leave. I share what Lieutenant Sheila said. I was in the glorious Brazilian Navy. I served in the Marine Corps. I have memories of those times that I haven't forgotten. Today, I'm retired, but I still consider myself as military. All Brazilians should serve their country. I served in the Sampaio Regiment in 1990 and I still miss it. To this day, I still practice what I learned there, mainly discipline and camaraderie. Lieutenant Sheila, may God bless you. I feel honor to have served my country. Valter.
I am in the reserves, paid by the Navy (Marine Corps), and I have feelings of love and patriotism towards Lieutenant Shala, a tough and high quality woman. Women like that should remain. May God bless you in your new life as a civilian. Congratulations Lieutenant Sheila. I read your words and see that they come from deep within your soul! Brazil needs patriots who respect national symbols and feel deeply when hearing the national anthem! Congratulations Lieutenant Sheila. Your message is a model; it's beautiful, and you really do have many reasons to feel nostalgic.
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