Friday, November 11, 2011
A college roommate used to remind me to "make a wish" every time the clock read "11:11." I had never heard of such a thing before but now I do it often (and think of her each time)! Today, on 11/11/11 my wish is that each and every service member returns home safely--and soon.
When I was young and stupid, I declared that I would never marry a military guy. I grew up in a warm town near three naval bases and I knew there were only two things in life that I would never do:
1. Become a military wife.
2. Live in any location where it got cold enough to snow.
So I left home to go to college, met a guy with an ROTC scholarship and while the Army paid for him to go to medical school, I married him. He graduated and I became the wife of an active duty service member who, later, was assigned to Alaska.
I had my first child at an Army medical center and thought that "nervous" or "apprehensive" would be good terms to describe how I felt about having so many residents--most no older than me--coming and going, in and out of my room. I didn't realize that only a few short years later, each one of them would have a chance to assist laboring women in Iraq and Afghanistan. That sounds a tad more nerve-wracking.
Two of my children were born at that medical center. They saw men and women in uniform every day for the first few years of their lives. My daughter would yell, "Daddy!" and point at some man in uniform every time I took her to the PX or commissary. These were approachable heroes--my kids were impressed but not afraid.
Those soldiers put on a brave face before each deployment and a happy one upon each return. Of course they are afraid but they do not show it--the definition of courage. With the possible exception of one soldier. He was young, obviously new to Post, far from home, trying to find his way around the PX when a toddler in pigtails grabbed his leg and yelled, "Daddy!" I'm pretty sure I saw a flash of fear, that day.