I went to a Military Appreciation lunch last week hosted by the Parker Chamber of commerce.
There was a young woman who shared a story of the impact on their family during the Persian Gulf War. Her Dad was going to be deployed. He would leave for duty in two weeks.
Suddenly being the daughter of a military officer didn't equate to cool. Now it was scary.
The night before he was going to leave, he received notice that his deployment was delayed for two weeks. They had already said their good-byes and braced themselves for what was to come and now they would go through that again.
Two weeks passed and again his deployment would be delayed. This family lived this emotional roller coaster of not knowing over and over again for eight weeks. In the end her Dad never went to the Persian Gulf. The war ended before he was deployed and the seeds of fear of losing her Dad had been planted.
10 years later, she was teaching in an elementary school in Boston on 09/11. Her first thought on hearing of the terrorist attacks brought her fears back to the present. She was sure that this time, her Dad would be going to war. She called her father in tears, terrified that he would be called to fight this unseen enemy.
Her Dad told her to pull herself together, these kids need you to be strong. Now "Buckle Up". She broke down and had to be sent home.
Her Dad didn't go to war this time either. He eventually did go to war, and this time the enemy was cancer.
He died at the age of 58. She still lives the lessons her father taught her when she faces fear, "Pull yourself together and buckle down."
I had the honor to shake the hand of a chief warrant officer who served our country for 20 years and thank him for his service. It truly was an honor to be able to look him in the eye and to give thanks.
He gave me a brochure of poems he had written during his career. He warned me that I might need to have some kleenex nearby and he was right.
I have no frame of reference for what this is like to leave your family for an extended time. Earlier this year, I went to Charlotte for 3 1/2 weeks. I wasn't going to war, I would be safe and my family was safe and for me I still had that twinge of fear, uncertainty that would creep into my thoughts.
I can't imagine how these families are able to do this.
God bless our troops and their families.