Although my husband nor I were ever in the military, we raised three children who all became members of our Armed Forces. I guess staying at home was not a very attractive alternative to any of them.
My daughter joined the Army after graduating from high school, and after basic training was sent to a remote town in Germany to serve our country. My middle son signed up for the Delayed Entry Program with the Marines when he was still too young to graduate, but upon receiving his diploma left for his basic training at MCRD in San Diego. Our youngest son misspent a couple of years in college in Texas before joining the US Coast Guard and doing his basic training in Cape May, New Jersey.
Having raised my children for the better part of their lives in Huntsville, then North Ogden, being separated from them was a difficult time for my husband and I. Random phone calls from different parts of the world were moments that we lived for. Not always knowing where or when they would call and waiting for the phone to ring were anxious times. Before I had a cell phone I would race home from work, worried that I may have missed a call from one of our kids.
I clearly remember my daughter calling me from a cell phone while driving 90 mph on the Autobahn. Wait, cell phone? 90mph? Autobahn? How do you tell your daughter to hang up the phone, pay attention to the road while doing 90 when all you want to do is keep her on the phone and hear her voice?
When my son was deployed to Iraq, I remember being on my computer emailing him when Instant Messenger popped up in the corner with a bubble saying “Hi mom” from my son. I reached out and touched the computer screen as if I could touch him and know that he was okay.
My youngest was deployed to Bahrain for a year with the Coast Guard and I recall being able to talk to him more frequently than the others since technology had progressed. However, it was still a bit stressful when he sent me a picture of him and his buddies wearing gas masks and sitting on their step playing guitars.
While only two of our children are still active service and both stationed here in America, we have watched as the families of those deployed wait to hear from their wives, husbands, fathers, mothers, children and siblings. Always wondering, always concerned, always ecstatic to hear that voice from afar that is the only thing that will bring them a moment’s peace, knowing everything is okay for that instant.
Family members who are left at home make sacrifices every day. They may not dodge bullets or endure extreme weather conditions, but they sacrifice normal life to support their loved one. We would like to express our appreciation for those of you who raise the children, pay the bills, coach the teams and stand behind your loved one while they defend our freedom all around the world.
God Bless America