"life lessons", Afghanistan, America, character training, Ft Jackson SC, Ft Stewart GA, grateful nation, Iraq, Kuwait, Military appreciation, sacrifice, service, spiritual, unemployment, US Air Force, US Army, US Coast Guards, US Marines, US Navy, Warriors Walk
On September 12, 2007, my youngest daughter enlisted in the U.S. Army. I allowed her to quit an unsuccessful high school career, obtain her GED, and ship out to her destiny at age 17.
She left the house amidst extreme emotion, but I knew I had to let her go and she knew she was ‘called.’ Staying would have killed her spirit. She completed her basic training at Ft Jackson, SC – same place I did mine in 1976! Ft Stewart became her home for 9 months. Her orders changed frequently, but she eventually deployed to Kuwait in March of ’08. Many of her friends went on to Iraq or Afghanistan, but she was assigned to the base camp in Kuwait. She was gone for a year. I heard from her about once a week, either by email or occasionally by phone. It was a VERY long year for all of us!
She returned after a year in the desert, and her brother and I went down to welcome her HOME, to the USA. The two of us, along with a good friend, drove from Charleston, SC to Ft Stewart, GA and awaited the bus returning from the Atlanta airport. It took an eternity, but finally the warriors rolled down the main street in the bus, to a cheering, yelling, crying crowd of family and friends. It was a wonderful day for our family.
The following day, we visited the Warriors’ Walk, a memorial garden for those who paid the highest price in Iraq or Afghanistan – the latest conflicts. As I started out, I decided to read aloud each and every remembrance plaque which contained the soldier’s name, rank, hometown, unit and theater in which they served. On most of these memorials, however, there were also handwritten notes from friends or family, mementos that held some special meaning, a flag, a snapshot, a can of beer, or a helmet. It didn’t take long before my heart was broken for the families and friends of these brave heroes. I was so deeply grateful that my daughter was not among them, yet I grieved for their loss, for the nation’s loss.
VISIT the WARRIORS WALK, FT STEWART, GA
A stranger to each of these honored lost soldiers, my daughter and I expressed our profound gratitude in silent tears. A stranger’s “Thank You” in behalf of … a grateful nation? … In behalf of my family.
INSPIRATION MONDAY XIX – THANKS, BEKINDREWRITE
I had the chills reading most of your post but I was struck with your need to ‘let your daughter go’ and her realization at such a young age of her ‘calling.’ I have a family member who didn’t have to fight in Vietnam but it was his ‘calling.’ He came home without the use of his legs; I’ve always admired his fighting spirit and statement that he would ‘do it again’ if they’d have me back. Patriots they are and all who serve need to be honored. FREEDOM ISN’T FREE!
Thank you so much for sharing this, Annie! Please thank your family member for his service, for heeding the “call!” This generation has yet to apprehend the meaning of this … but I’ve a feeling their turn is coming! Freedom is costly, but completely worth the price as long as WE THE PEOPLE walk in that freedom!
Did I tell you that this vey prompt came from exactly what you’re talking about here? For Independence Day, I went walking around the town square with a couple of my friends and one friend’s fiancee. He’s in the Air Force and wore his blues. So many people stopped to thank him for his service, it made me want to cry! (In a good way). Please thank your daughter for me.
Gladly! I’ve told her how the temperature is changing here, that people are becoming more aware of the sacrifices made by those who choose military service, but more than that, I think folks are becoming alert to what America means and what we want her to mean. I see Flags everywhere, bumper stickers that support our troops or recall the words of a Founding Father. I hear a rumbling … of Americans awakening at the sense of danger that looms. It is a good thing … and on I ramble! hahaha Thank you for sharing. Is this the engagement ring event? When you see the Air Force member, please likewise convey my heart-felt thanks!
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Bob Mack said:
Great post. Gracias. Annie above, I can relate to your friend. I’d go back to the RVN in a NY minute if I had to, & so would most of my vet buddies–on the condition, of course, that no Democrats ran the war.
Ha! ya, that’s the catch … can’t let civilians run a war!
Great post, Barb. Thanks to you and your daughter.
Thank you – speaking for myself, I had the time of my life & wish I had it to do over again! I think my daughter feels the same way!
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