My adopted father was in the Air Force, My biological father was in the Navy, My grandfather a STRONG Marine. My sister also an Air Woman.
I come from a proud Military family but never did I face a deployment, death, or the truth and evil of war until I lived in Calhoun, GA. Thanksgiving week (Not sure the day) was my friend's daughter Cari's birthday at the art studio and from the Party I had to leave Calhoun and head to Adairsville for my sisters Annual Thanksgiving feast she always made for her friends. It was a huge spread. As we passed through the streets of Calhoun. They came out in numbers. So many people there with American Flags, Banners, Posters, Yellow ribbons welcoming home Cody. A fallen Marine very young like 18/19 years old. Killed by friendly fire in the back of the head. So much love from my community. I didn't know Cody but my co-workers did.
Then I became friends with my future husband and as he talked of a pending deployment it struck me down hard. So hard I couldn't shake it. My brother in law had deployed years earlier with the Air Force, Another brother in law in the Navy. That didn't rattle me as much or at least not the same way. This was different. I was starting to care for Rick. I couldn't express to him my fears either. I expressed them to my then boyfriend Donnie. I never shook that fear and eventually Rick and I started talking about meeting, and having plans. It got serious and serious fast. A few months after we married we were getting ready for a first huge event. I was checking my old Alumni's website on Myspace and I read a friend from High School was killed in Iraq. I knew Blake.. we weren't close friends but we were friends. At least we were in High School. I was kind of a ROTC groupie, as my mom wouldn't let me join so I just kinda watched from the side lines. After high school I imagined a few would move on to the military as my sister did and as I TRIED to do. I tried to join the Air Force, Army, Navy... I am not suitable as a Marine I knew that but apparently not suitable for the other branches as much either. Days after Rick and I were married his oldest son went and left for BCT (Boot Camp)... fears of him ending up just like Cody struck me cold. It was hard for me to let him go. It was his choice and I barely knew the kid other than his heart and how big it was. Rick was shaking as if we watched Alex transform from a boy riding a bike to a man wearing a uniform carrying a weapon to defend his country. Then I had to watch my husband walk away from me the same way just a few months later. We survived our first deployment married. I got him home safe. Then a matter of months later Alex would deploy overseas. That deployment was terrifying, and very emotional for us. I had to face a lot of my fears that I kept to myself. I couldn't share out of making Rick have more fears than he needed. Thankfully someone watched over Alex and he is home for good and safe and sound. So many of our children don't come home safe. So many of our fiancées and husbands don't come home safe. Its unfair but I believe in the work the military does.
I honor and show gratitude for all Veterans and all the Fallen. I try to support Military Families and do whatever I can.
I have a friend who is a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. I look at her beautiful work and I can't imagine the emotions that she goes through or any of the emotions the families go through. I give my Soldiers (when I can) an extra hug and I send warm thoughts to my Mackenzie and squeeze Skylar & William a little extra tighter.
A Soldier,Airman, Marine Seaman, Gave his life so mine didn't have to. Thank you for watching their backs!
I have angels watching over Alex, James, Mackenzie, Skylar and William so I can keep them just another day longer on this earth and I don't have to let them go. I am so grateful for that.
So please pray for me that I remember how important it is to be there still for the Military. Please pray for me if William or Skylar choose to follow in the family foot steps that someone protect them. Please pray for all our work overseas Missions and Military that enough peace will come soon so we can carry on and not let these men and women die in vain. Please pray for the families at Ft Bragg they have been loosing an unreal amount of children. Death is forever a circle of life but no Parent should have to bury their children or say good bye in a cruel way. No Wife should have to loose a husband to war. Please pray for me and for them.