Do you know how hard it is to watch your child deploy to war in the Mid-East – for the third time in six years?
Some of you do know. Many sons and daughters have served even more tours. By the third deployment, you start to wonder how many times the little buzz-haired boy you raised can walk into harm’s way and return safe and whole. I won’t say unscathed, because nobody returns without cost.
Everyone says it’s much safer in Iraq now, but every day we read of deaths from IEDs and suicide bombings. Our son wears body armor under a standard uniform that’s not cool to start with, in summer temperatures that reach 110 to 120 degrees. And I better not find out he ever goes out without that body armor, even though this is a kid who loved to goose hunt in freezing weather and used to suffer in Oklahoma heat.
I can’t know what it’s really like for our military people, how they face their fears or mark the days missing their families, how they cope. I admire them more than I can speak. But I do know what it’s like for the ones left behind.
Think of the thousands of spouses and children, the mothers and fathers, who deal with this every day. They go about their daily lives doing their best to function normally, but a big chunk of their minds and hearts is overseas, sweating out the days with someone they love more than life itself.
They also serve who only stand and wait.