Last night we had a family celebration -- the 'unofficial' ending of 'Joe's contract with the National Guard. The official release is still a few days away, and that day is only a few days from marking the 'Joe's 5 year anniversary of when they began dating. Throughout this time, he was training for deployment, deployed after a week of marriage, spent his first year of marriage in the war zone, came home for 3 weeks then off for another 2 years for the unaccompanied orders as a predeployment trainer, then back home for the past 15 months with his regular NG unit. Has it been only 5 years?
Being an insider to the daily occurrences of the past 5 years, I've developed a new level of appreciation for our military and their families. The sacrifices these families make to protect our country, our freedoms, our safety ... it's beyond anything I can put into words. Some families have paid the ultimate sacrifice. And I could never even begin to repay them or even thank them for their loved ones' service.
We do not know the exact next step for the 'Joe's. We do not know where their post will be. We do not know what 'Joe's mission will be. But we do know that we stand with ACUs, Stiletto Shoes, and Pretty Pink Tutus . The 'Joe's are just one family who are living for something much larger than themselves. Granddad and I stand with not only them, but with all of our military families.
When I'm out & about, and see someone in a military uniform, I try my best to shake their hand & thank them for their service to our country. God put many troops in my path when 'Joe was deployed. Once I was grocery shopping & met a young recruiter. He & I chatted for a little bit, and he told me that he really wanted to go back on a deployment. He had been in the war-zone for 2 deployments, but wanted to go back with all his heart. I told him that I was shopping for 'Joe's care-package, so the young recruiter glanced in my basket to see what his fellow serviceman was in store for. Then, he put his arm around my shoulders & said "You did good, Mom. I can tell you that this is exactly what he needs over there." I then explained that I always send extra for 'Joe to give to his buddies, and his reply was "On behalf of those young men, thank you for thinking of them. Unfortunately some of our troops don't have families to look out for them, so just know that it is appreciated."
I never saw this young recruiter after that, but his words have always stayed with me. Granddad & I simply cannot fathom that some of our military go without support when they are in the middle of protecting our country and our freedom. As a Mother & a Granny, my heart hurts for these troops.
As you think of our troops, please also remember their families. Mrs 'Joe & Lucy are as much our heroes as 'Joe. Sacrifices are made by the entire family of those who serve & protect our country.
Please remember all of our military & their families in your prayers. They voluntarily serve our country. A simple act of kindness goes a long way to them.
May God bless our military & our home-front heroes.